Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Three words Americans associated most with President Trump's debate performance: Bully, childish and rude. Joe Biden: Weak, presidential and poor. The debate itself: Chaotic, Trump and variations on the word s--t.

The big picture: A new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll shows that while nobody on that stage should feel great about their performance, Trump hurt himself more than his rival with Tuesday night's theatrics in what's been called the worst U.S. presidential debate in history.

  • The debate yielded outsized disappointment from independents and Trump's fellow Republicans, the survey found, while Democrats walked away the angriest, two outcomes that could benefit Biden.
Graphic: SurveyMonkey

By the numbers: Three times as many voters said President Trump did worse than they expected in the debate — 39% compared with 13% for Biden.

  • A majority of Republicans (57%) and independents (61%) said their primary reaction was disappointment.
  • 37% of Democrats said they walked away angry, compared with 24% of independents and just 9% of Republicans.

Between the lines: Biden may have to lean into that anger to propel his backers to the polls. Only 5% of Democrats said they were primarily excited after the debate, compared with 18% of Republicans.

Why it matters: To the extent that it does, it's more likely to impact turnout than to change preferences.

  • More than 9 in 10 people who say they'd already decided on Trump or Biden planned to stick with their choice.
  • One group that's still up for grabs is one in 10 respondents who said they don't plan to vote. Two-thirds of them said they could still change their minds. But historically this has been a difficult group to motivate.

The bottom line: Given the alternative, it's better to come out of the debate on the prevailing side of anger than on the losing side of disappointment.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted September 29-30, 2020 among a national sample of 2,618 adults in the U.S.

  • Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.
  • The modeled error estimate for this survey is +/- 2.0 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Voters of color worry about militias, arrests

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.6% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Fears that armed militias, police or COVID-19 await them at the polls are disproportionately shaping how Americans of color think about in-person voting, according to an Ipsos poll for Axios.

Why it matters: Participation by voters of color could decide whether President Trump or Joe Biden wins, and whether Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress.

Poll: Large majorities support Biden over Trump on major policy issues

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As Election Day gets closer, Joe Biden leads President Trump by sizable margins on the major issues of the day, according to a national poll by The New York Times and Siena College.

Why it matters: With only two weeks to go before election day, there's little time for Trump make up the gap between he and Biden on the issues voters care deeply about. These include a new multi-trillion dollar stimulus program, mandatory mask-wearing, and a $2 trillion renewable energy package. Voters are also now evenly split on who will better manage the economy — a blow to Trump as he's led on the issue for much of the campaign.

Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new measures on Monday to mute the microphones of President Trump and Joe Biden to allow each candidate two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate.

Why it matters: During September's chaotic debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, while Biden interrupted Trump 22 times.