Biden Won the Debate Handily, But What About Lies, Honesty, and the Direction the Vote is Going?

We weren’t sure if Thursday’s Presidential debate would actually happen or not, but we’re very glad it took place because we have some interesting results from a survey that we launched as the debate ended, and was kept open for the 12 hours following and had 2,121 respondents.

The poll was launched on our Embee panel, collecting real people’s opinions about the debate if they watched it, and everyone’s opinions about candidate honesty, voter intention, and more. The most important aspect to note is that the survey did not advertise its subject matter, so there is no selection bias in the results.

Biden Won
Overall, 48% believe Biden won the debate, with 37% believing Trump won, and 15% stating they were unsure who won.

Biden enjoyed a 16-point margin among men, much higher than the 6-point margin among women. Every age group also believed that Biden won, with the highest margins from the youngest respondents who dislike Trump and the oldest age group. As we’ve seen in our Election Tracker, the oldest age groups are no longer supporting Trump with the same enthusiasm they had in 2016, and this is reflected here.

bar chart showing who thought Biden won and thought Trump won

Lies, Alternative Facts, and the Way The American People See It

Trump is no stranger to lying and misleading Americans. On April 14, 2020, The Washington Post ran the article President Trump made 18,000 false or misleading claims in 1,170 days. According to FactCheck.org, during the debate last night Trump made approximately 45 false statements, while Biden made approximately 9 false statements.

This isn’t the way viewers saw it though.

Of people who would vote Trump, 44% thought he never lied, and a further 30% thought he only lied ‘not much of the time’. Compare just 9% of those who’d vote Biden thought that Trump never lied or lied ‘Not much of the time’.

The exact opposite is seen with Biden’s lies. 30% of those who’d vote Biden thought he never lied, with a further 40% thinking Biden lied ‘not much of the time’. This compared to just 12% of Trump supporters who thought Biden never lied or lied ‘not much of the time’.

bar chart showing that trump supporters thought that Trump told the truth, and Biden supporters thought Biden was honest, but not the other way around

Can Honesty Help Win the Race?
False and misleading claims aside we also decided to explore the honesty of the two candidates, both in terms of how honest they were on the debate topics and how honest they are overall.

When we drill down into honesty of the candidates topic-by-topic with those who watched the debate, Trump never broke 50% honesty on any topic, and only hit/broke 40% on two issues. Biden broke 50% honesty on 5 of the six topics.

bar chart showing that Biden was believed more than Trump on every topic

While presidential debates haven’t been known to sway an election one way or another, we did find that the perception of the candidates’ honesty increases among those who watch the debate.

  • Of all of those polled, 50% feel Biden is the most honest candidate, 31% feel Trump is the most honest candidate, and 19% feel the candidates are equally honest.
  • Of those who didn’t watch the debate, 43% feel Biden is the most honest, 28% feel Trump is most honest, and 30% feel the candidates are equally honest.
  • Of those who did watch the debate, 55% feel Biden is the most honest, 35% feel Trump is the most honest, and 10% feel the candidates are equally honest.

Where Are the Votes Heading?
Our poll included 1736 respondents who are eligible to vote, and 30% of these have already voted. These fall 2:1 to Biden. A further 52% of eligible voters say they will vote, but have not already, and these are much closer: 51% Biden vs 49% Trump. 11% of eligible voters say they might vote, and these are pretty equally split between Trump and Biden. Lastly, 7% of eligible voters stated that they would not vote, and this small number was mostly Biden supporting.

By weighting the changes of voting, we reveal a very high turnout of around 78% of eligible voters overall, that being 78% of Trump supporters and 80% of Biden supports. But the race is not won yet. Nearly half (47%) of all the votes we expect for Biden have already been cast, whereas less than one-third of Trump supporters have voted early.

Of votes due to come in, we would expect these to be equally distributed between Trump and Biden.

More Trump supporters have voted ahead than Biden supporters

We did collect many other interesting insights and data and will be happy to share it with interested parties.

And, in case you haven’t checked it out yet, Embee’s Real-Time Election Tracker is a completely free and publicly available real-time dashboard with lots of interesting data about the status of the election. For the past few months, Embee has been continuously tracking the Presidential race and incorporating those results, and other data, into this dashboard. There are lots of interesting insights you can see by looking at different groups of people — how are Facebook users voting intentions different than LinkedIn users, how does your news sources impact voters’ preference, how different demographics are leaning, and more!