A Republican pollster asked a focus group of undecided voters to weigh in on the two presidential candidates after their first debate Tuesday. Many said they were still unsure who they would vote for, but there was one general consensus: President Donald Trump’s performance was not good.
Conservative public opinion pundit Frank Luntz asked 16 voters from assorted states for their takeaways after watching Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden go head to head Tuesday night. The 90-minute roller coaster was characterized by incessant crosstalk and interruptions from the president. Fox News moderator Chris Wallace was forced to scold Trump on multiple occasions for talking over both Biden and himself.
Luntz asked his participants to each provide one word to describe Trump’s performance. The responses were:
“Horrid,” “chaotic,” “unpolished,” “crackhead,” “eh,” “puzzling,” “Un-American,” “unhinged” (twice), “an ass, but a confident ass,” “classic Trump,” “forceful,” “bully,” “arrogant” (twice) and “typical.”
Asked about how Trump could improve, Michelle from Florida said he needed to stop talking over people. “It’s very rude and just gives a bad impression,” she said.
The voters were overall more positive about Biden’s performance. The short descriptions were:
“Surprised at how well he did,” “better than expected,” “more professional,” “confident,” “politician” (twice), “restraint and compassion,” “predictable” (three times), “nice guy but lacking vision,” “coherent,” “leader,” “attentive and rehearsed,” “evasive” and “humanity and integrity.”
Voters in past versions of this panel voiced similar objections to Trump ahead of the 2016 election.
After one GOP primary debate, the majority of Republican voters in one of Luntz’s groups said they’d changed their opinion of Trump from positive to negative after his performance.
And ahead of the 2016 GOP convention, where Trump was awarded the Republican nomination, a focus group described Trump with terms like “fascist” and “dumpster fire.”
Though, the reviews of his then-opponent Hillary Clinton, whom they described as “corrupt” and “dishonest,” were not much better.
Watch the virtual focus group convene on the first 2020 presidential debate below.