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Gallup: Clinton beats Trump in first debate by a large margin

Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate by a huge margin of victory, besting Donald Trump in public perception by 34 points, according to a Gallup poll out Thursday.

Gallup found that Americans who saw the debate believed Clinton was the runaway victor, 61 percent to Trump’s 27 percent. That 34-point advantage is one of the highest margins post-debate since the 1960s.

Clinton’s debate victory was about as strong as her husband’s in his first 1996 debate with Bob Dole, but fell short of Mitt Romney’s first 2012 debate over President Obama, where the Republican nominee had a 52-point advantage.

Historically, however, winning a first debate doesn’t necessarily augur victory at the polls. President Obama overtook Romney in the following two debates in 2012, and while John Kerry was believed to be the clear winner of all three presidential debates, George W. Bush still won the election in 2004.

Clinton’s popularity post-debate was boosted by her support among those in her own party. Ninety-two percent of Democrats said she did a better job than Trump, while only 53 percent of Republicans believed Trump came out the winner. Gallup also found that 59 percent of independents thought Clinton won, compared to the 30 percent who thought Trump did.

Clinton also scored big when it came to the qualities she exhibited during the debate. On all the characteristics Gallup asked voters about, Clinton prevailed over Trump: she appeared to be more inspiring (46 percent to Trump’s 34 percent), was more likable (55 to 36 percent), appeared presidential (59 percent to 27 percent), and exhibited a better understanding of the issues (62 to 26 percent).

Gallup conducted the poll from Sept. 27-28 with 1,020 adults nationally, including 791 who said they watched or heard the debate.