HuffPost/YouGov Poll: Clinton Won The Debate
October 16, 2015

People are funny, aren't they?

Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate on CNN did what debates usually do, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. It allowed the two leading candidates to make a positive impression on an audience of millions.

More critically, however, the debate allowed front-runner Hillary Clinton to boost her standing among a far bigger base of support, making her the clear winner in the eyes of most Democratic voters.

A 55 percent majority of registered Democratic voters who watched the debate said Clinton won. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who saw a surge in online interest and fundraising, was a distant second, with only 22 percent saying he was the best of the night.

Clinton also saw an uptick in the proportion of Democrats who say they want her to be the party's presidential nominee. Before the debate, 44 percent of registered Democrats said they wanted Clinton to be the nominee. After the debate, the figure had risen to 52 percent.

That movement, however, is thanks to a lower percentage of undecided voters. The number who wanted someone other than Clinton has remained stable. Prior to the debate, 33 percent of Democrats wanted someone else. Post-debate, it was 32 percent.

Democrats tended to think their favored candidate prevailed Tuesday night. Among those who want Clinton to be the nominee, 82 percent thought she was the winner. Only 15 percent of those who prefer someone else said Clinton won, while 61 percent of those people judged Sanders the winner.

The poll also shows that both Clinton and Sanders made good impressions on Democratic voters -- 52 percent said their view of Clinton improved, and 42 percent said the same of Sanders. The difference between candidates disappears if Democratic-leaning independents are included with Democratic voters. Among this larger group, 46 percent say their opinion of each candidate improved.

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