The second presidential debate couldn’t have fallen at a worse time for Donald Trump, coming two days after the release of that videotape where he made a number of lewd comments about women. In the fallout of this videotape’s release some GOP members have called for Trump to drop out of the race, with some calling for Mike Pence to take over in his place. It was clear what direction the upcoming debate would take.
The first 30 minutes or so of the second debate were devoted to matters of a sexual nature, with Trump attempting to deflect attention from his videotape comments by tying Hillary Clinton to Bill’s past infidelities with women. Polls did already indicate that attacking Hillary because of her husband’s actions wouldn’t be appropriate, but Trump went there anyway: “When you look at Bill Clinton, mine were words, his were actions.”
A lot of the debate was populated by threats from Trump to prosecute Clinton if he wins the election, saying ultimately that if he was in charge of law and order “[she’d] be in jail.” Trump launched attacks on anything he could on the night (including Bill Clinton and the moderators), but definitely scored some positive points when he attacked Hillary on her email server. Most Americans have a problem with the email scandal, with only 26% of the public thinking she did nothing wrong.
In typical Trump fashion he didn’t back down when he was attacked on the big point of contention, dismissing the talk in the videotape as “locker-room talk”. However, looming behind Hillary as she spoke also didn’t appear to be the best tactic for Trump given his recent comments, but it’s doubtful if that would have any impact on the public’s perception.
Trump scored positive points on the night by constantly redirecting attention from the videotape to matters from Obamacare to foreign policy which he constantly pressed Hillary on, and at times it seemed like Hillary was unprepared. She was on the defensive for much of the debate when it came to issues of tax reform or job creation. Trump needed to perform to stay alive in this race and he seems to have given his campaign the injection it needed.
The consensus is that Trump did better in the second debate, but given his unanimous defeat in the first it wasn’t hard to outperform his initial outing. Trump has bounced back in the market from his slump following the videotape release and talks of him dropping out of the race, moving into 5.1 from a high of 6.1 pre-debate.
He’s moved in slightly and regained some of the ground he lost in the midst of the videotape’s release, but is it too little too late? Trump is already losing endorsements and even his running mate Mike Pence had to distance himself from Trump in the aftermath of the tape. He has gained some ground back, but it’s ground that was lost outside of the debate.
Hi debate performance has regained some of the trust of the GOP, but if Trump is at this stage still trying to win back the party, then winning the public back might be a step too far.
Hillary Clinton is the current market front-runner at 1.26 (80%) to become the Next President, with Donald Trump trading at 5.0 (80%). Will Trump benefit more as the debate reactions come in? Have your say and bet on the Next President market on Matchbook here.