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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

Republicans object to Electoral College certification

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College count on Wednesday in a final effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: President Trump and his allies have no other path to change the election and are relying on this last ditch effort that will ultimately confirm Joe Biden as the next president.

Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress certifies Joe Biden's Electoral College win

The House reconvenes Wednesday night for the joint session after pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

A joint session of Congress ended a day of siege by officially certifying on Thursday President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the November election, the final step ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.

The bottom line: The final votes in Congress confirm that Biden will be the 46th president of the United States—despite some Republican lawmakers' challenges and the rampage through the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.