The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday was a hot mess. It was difficult to watch the complete chaos in its entirety, but we did — and we have the takeaways.

  • Plus, why your mail-in ballot could get thrown out.
  • And, American workers are burnt out.

Guests: Axios' Margaret Talev, Stef Kight and Erica Pandey.

Credits: "Axios Today" is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Carol Alderman, Cara Shillenn, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alex Sugiura and Naomi Shavin. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com.

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Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Oct 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

63 million people watched final presidential debate

Photo Illustration: Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

63 million viewers tuned into the final debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday evening, according to Nielsen ratings. The event drew 13% fewer viewers than the first presidential debate in late September.

Why it matters: The more measured matchup may have proven to be less exciting than the chaotic first debate.

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