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Hillary Clinton edges ahead in wake of vicious Trump debate but voters still divided

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the presidential debate
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the presidential debate

By Ben Kentish

American voters remain split after the second US presidential debate, with Donald Trump's ferocious attack on Hillary Clinton's husband - former president Bill Clinton - dividing opinion.

A post-debate YouGov poll found 47% of viewers thought Ms Clinton won the contest, while 42% said Mr Trump came out on top. A total of 12% believed the clash was a tie.

Only 6% of voters said they changed their mind after watching the debate, and just 1% of those who had made up their mind said they would consider voting for the other candidate.

The debate saw Donald Trump forced to defend himself against claims of sexism after footage emerged of him allegedly advocating groping women.

He said he was "very embarrassed" about the comments, before turning to attack Bill Clinton. Mr Trump held a press conference before the debate with three women who said the former president had sexually assaulted them.

"Mine were words, his was action," Mr Trump said of Mr Clinton. "What he's done to women, there's never been any body in the history of politics in this nation that's been so abusive to women."

Ms Clinton said the remarks made by her Republican rival in the recording represented "exactly who he is".

She added: "We've seen him insult women, we've seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to 10, we've seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter."

The YouGov survey suggests Mr Trump's comments on sexual assault may have cost him, with only 30% of women saying he won the debate compared to 50% favouring Ms Clinton.

And 60% of viewers said they disagreed with Mr Trump's claim that he is "a gentleman", while just 31% believe it to be true.

It comes less than a month before polling day, with Ms Clinton slightly ahead in most polls after Mr Trump was seen to perform poorly during the first debate and was then engulfed by accusations of sexism.

Regardless of who they supported, 58% of people surveyed in the poll expected Hillary Clinton to be elected as president, while only 25% thought Mr Trump would win.

YouGov's model currently predicts Clinton is on course to receive 48.5% of the final vote compared to Mr Trump's 43.4%. That would give her 356 votes in the electoral college - significantly more than the 270 needed to win the presidency.

YouGov editor-in-chief Freddie Sayers played down the impact of the debate. He said: "Hillary Clinton was seen by people watching the debate as more presidential, more knowledgeable and better prepared; yet she was only judged to have 'won' the debate by the relatively narrow margin of 47% to 42%."

Five key moments

  • Donald Trump apologises for his "locker room talk". The tape recording of Mr Trump in which he talks about grabbing women "by the p****" had plunged his campaign into turmoil.
  • Hillary Clinton on the Trump tape. The Democratic candidate said the comments about women made in the tape by Mr Trump represent "exactly who he is".
  • Donald Trump targets former president Bill Clinton. During the debate he said "there's never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that's been so abusive to women" as Mr Clinton.
  • Donald Trump says Hillary should be in jail over her use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state.
  • No initial handshake. When the candidates were introduced, they did not shake hands when they arrived on stage.

Belfast Telegraph


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