According to the results of IrishCentral’s poll on the first presidential debate, Donald Trump was the winner.
Forty eight percent of the 8,336 voters declared Trump to the debate victor, while 45% said Hillary won and 7% didn’t think there was a clear winner.
But wait. There is a strong caveat. As report by the internet news site The Daily Dot revealed, the majority of the post-debate reader opinion polls were hijacked by zealous Trump supporters on Reddit and 4Chan, who, shortly after the debate, began gathering and sharing links to the polls and encouraging fellow Trump supporters to vote in them as many times as they could. IrishCentral's poll was included in a number of these lists.
Indeed, 58% of those who visited the IrishCentral page for the election poll were first-time readers, meaning that, unfortunately, these election poll results are likely not an accurate portrait of our core readers’ opinions.
Our poll participants in Ireland were decidedly pro-Hillary, with 66% of the 944 votes declaring Clinton the winner. Twenty three percent were in favor of Donald, while 11% didn’t think either candidate won.
But in the United States, where the votes matter most, voters were significantly in favor of Trump, with the Republican nominee securing 50% of the 5,159 votes. Forty four percent of US poll participants said Hillary Clinton won, while 6% didn’t see a definite victor.
These poll results present an interesting contrast with the views of the major political pundits – both liberal and conservative – who broadly determined Clinton to have performed best in the debate. They are also a change from our most recent election poll, in which 57% said they would vote for Clinton, 35% said they would vote for Trump and 8% said they were undecided.
The IrishCentral poll results line up with the reaction polls given by many major news sites, including Time, Fortune, NBC, and Fox.
One notable exception was CNN’s post-debate poll, which concluded with a Clinton victory – 65% to 27%. Unlike the snap reaction polls, which lacked controls and operated on the good faith assumption that participants would vote once, the CNN poll was conducted via phone with 521 registered voters around the country.
As you might expect, Trump much preferred the other polls.
Wow, did great in the debate polls (except for @CNN - which I don't watch). Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2016
How much weight should we give to these results?
As Fox News pointed out, they could mean that “Trump’s performance was enough to energize those who already backed him.”
And they could also mean that a relatively small group of Trump supporters stayed up way past their bedtimes to vote in as many polls as they could, as many times as they could.