Hillary Clinton absolutely clobbered Donald Trump in last night's first 2016 Presidential Debate, the most watched political debate in U.S. history, on Monday night. Over 84 million Americans watched the debate on televsion, and millions more tuned in on live web streaming. People who watched at bars or at restaurants were not counted -- making the actual audience much higher.
Donald Trump's performance was so bad that even his own supporters found many of his statement incredibly inept. Trump's performance really was that poor - even according conservative commentators. I predict that Hillary Clinton will move to an average of a 4-5% lead in major polls by October 4 in the Real Clear Politics average of major polls.
However, Trump has two opportunities to make up for his poor performance in the next two Presidential Debates:
Sunday, October 9 from St. Louis, Missouri.
Wednesday, October 19 from Las Vegas, Nevada
There is also a Vice Presidential debate on Tuesday October 4, but these tend not to be game changers and as important as the Presidential debate. Joe Biden's debate with Paul Ryan in 2012 was an exception though -- he gave confidence to wavering Democrats who were disheartened by President Obama's lackluster performance in the first debate against an inspired Mitt Romney who beat expectations and performed well.
American voters tend to be forgiving in debates -- and if Trump can "come back" after suffering a near "knock-out blow" by Clinton (to paraphrase boxing terminology) he might restore some of the momentum he seemed to be gaining in September before the debate This is, of course, assuming the polls reflect what the "conventional wisdom" assumes will be a Hillary Clinton gain in the polls which is not at all assured given this most bizarre of election years in the United States.
This also assumed the "October Surprise" that many Democrats fear will not be sprung against Hillary Clinton by Wikileaks's Julian Assange or Vladimir Putin's Russian hacker army does not dominate the news cycle.