The third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took place tonight at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Chris Wallace was the moderator.
As with all debates we have covered, our intent is to judge the debates independently of the issues and try to determine how the polls will move, based on their performance.
This debate was much more focused on the issues, and reasonably well controlled. Both candidates were poised, energetic and at their best.
Trump +8 – Donald Trump was a bit sedate in the first 15 minutes,but soon got into Trump form. He was aggressive in his attacks, pressed them hard but managed to ignore some provocations Hillary likely expected to exploit.
He missed some opportunities to hammer home his criticisms of Hillary, but this performance showed a more controlled and measured Donald Trump. His presentation was very Presidential.
Trump managed to discredit Hillary’s narrative in a number of instances. He drove the point that she and the Obama administration have caused a disaster in the Syria and Iraq. He hit hard with the audience that Putin has outsmarted Clinton and Obama at every turn. He could have hit harder on the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi and the email investigation, however it appeared he preferred to keep decorum.
I score Trump higher because of his presidential demeanor and his hard hitting points to discredit Hillary’s plans and record. A more sensational debate would have taken attentiona away from his substantive points.
Hillary +5 – Hillary presented well and gave detailed responses reiterating her positions. The post-debate commentators rightly noted her responses were well laid out and substantive. However, Trump was often able to point out that despite her rhetoric, her actions have come up short. This was an effective strategy for Trump.
Hillary did nothing to improve her position, but neither did she lose anything. Considering the loss in the last debate this was probably the best she could hope for.
Chris Wallace did a fine job moderating, kept reasonable control while allowing points to be made. Much of the media expected this to be more of a circus, to have “more sex” and some sensational confrontations. It was noted that Hillary spoke more than 6 minutes more than Trump.
Who won? Trump won, by a score of 8 to 5.