Don't get worked up over instant polls and who 'won' the debate

Have you seen all those "Who won the debate?" instant polls? Yeah, don't put too much stock into them.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Scattered throughout the presidential debate headlines Tuesday are lines about which candidate – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – "won" last night, based on rapid instant polling done by different sites and organizations.

CNN/ORC for example polled 521 registered voters and found 62 percent thought Clinton "did the best job in the debate." That's compared to 27 percent who said it went to Trump. Public Policy Polling had Clinton ahead 51-40 after the debate.

Most though have leaned to the Right.

A Time.com poll has Trump ahead 54-46. CNBC's voters also picked Trump, who leads that one 67-33. He also leads on a Fortune poll, and on Breitbart's survey (which, it should be noted, is a site whose chairman is the chief executive of Trump's campaign) the Republican has a commanding lead.

Trump himself is even toutingallthevictories on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/780757611914391552

These don't necessarily mean anything

Here's the thing: These snap polls after the first debate don't necessarily mean anything in terms of who might win the election.

As FiveThirtyEight points out, the CNN/ORC poll "correlates fairly well" with how the next round of polling moves afterward – basically, that survey seems to best indicate how the public will weigh in during the polls that are done over the next few days. Because of that, the site is predicting a bounce for Clinton – but they also note that doesn't mean she'll hold it through Election Day.

And we've got a very recent example to point to: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

In that CNN/ORC poll after their first debate, respondents said Romney won by a huge margin – 67 percent to 25 percent – over the president. That then led to a near-tie in the national polls in the week afterward, as well as a "freak out" from Democrats.

And then Obama had better showings in debates two and three, out-polled Romney, and won the election handily.

To some of these sites' credit, they note that the instant polls/survey on their site aren't scientific, and aren't a representative sample (meaning they're not made to match the demographics of America and lively voters). But that's not always in the headline, or high up in the story.

So remember: Instant poll numbers after the first debate might be fun to take the nation's temperature – but don't take them as a sign of things to come.

Next Up

st. paul winter carnival ice sculpture

3 winter festivals in the Twin Cities this weekend

The Great Northern, The City of Lakes Loppet and St. Paul Winter Carnival are all underway.

police lights

Suspect led deputies on 23-mile chase, hid in the woods

The suspect was arrested after a few hours hiding in a wooded area in Meeker County.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Will the Vikings be the only ones left with QB stability in the NFC?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

La Velle E. Neal III

Twins reporter La Velle E. Neal III to become Star Tribune sports columnist

The long-serving Twins reporter has received a promotion.

ambulance

State Patrol investigating fatal crash near Duluth

The crash was reported around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.

vaping

Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

Related

Streaming or TV? How people watched the second presidential debate

A lot of you turned to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to watch the debate.

People aren't satisfied with Trump or Hillary

Americans weren't very happy with their choices for president back in June ... and they're apparently even less happy with those choices now.

A 20-point swing in Wisconsin? How Clinton and Trump look in the polls now

A clearer picture of the impact of the Trump tapes and the Clinton Wikileaks release can now be seen through election polls.

Beyond the headlines: 5 takeaways from the final presidential debate

Digging deeper than the "nasty woman" quote and who "won."

Recap and fact-checking from the final presidential debate

GoMN is providing live updates and fact-checking from tonight's final presidential debate.