Who Won? Instant Analysis of First Debate
Early assessments from pundits favor Clinton
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2016 10:53 PM CDT
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have one of three debates behind them.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – The first of three presidential debates is in the books, and while pundits will be dissecting it for a while, here's some instant analysis in the wake of round one:

  • Conor Friedersdorf, the Atlantic: "My impression, for what it's worth: Hillary Clinton won decisively. But I never know what others will think. She certainly kept her poise at all times, while Donald Trump, to my eyes, started off nervous and did a lot of rambling."
  • Adam Nagourney, New York Times: "Bottom line for me: Trump probably helped himself with his voters. And he didn't do totally off-the-wall things. But I don't think he did himself any good tonight with undecided voters, or voters who really don't want to vote for Clinton. I'm not sure he came off as presidential at all, which he needed to, his answers on race, birthers [were] damaging to him."
  • In an unscientific survey at Time, Trump was seen as the winner by 51% of readers, at least in the first hour after the debate. More than 150,000 had cast votes.

  • Andrew Sullivan, New York: "Clinton was not great at times; her language was occasionally stilted; she missed some obvious moments to go in for the kill; but she was solid and reassuring and composed. I started tonight believing she needed a game-changer to alter the trajectory of this race. I may, of course, be wrong, trapped in my own confirmation bias and bubble—but I thought she did just that."
  • Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair: "In conclusion, it doesn't really matter who won or lost during the debate. People who were voting for Clinton are still voting for Clinton; people who love Trump, still love him. The reality is, at the end of the day, most people are one-issue voters and they have already made up their mind about who they are going to vote for."
  • Chris Cillizza, Washington Post: He has Clinton as the clear winner. She was thoroughly prepared and used "a slew of facts and figures to not only make her positive case but also to slam Trump." Her rival, on the other hand, "was simply not prepared well enough."
  • RedState: "Neither candidate was a winner or loser. They both get participation trophies. ... The bottom line is that this fulfilled the crappy promise of this election: plenty of bickering, not much enlightenment, and bad media moderation. hooray."