WATCH: Body language expert Mark Bowden delves into Trump and Clinton’s body language at the U.S. presidential debate, including Trump’s frequent sniffing.
They sparred over revealing income tax returns, deleted emails and even who has more “stamina” for the job: presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wrapped up their first debate Monday night, and reaction is continuing to pour in.
The debate had its fair share of talked-about moments, and while pollsters are still gathering in-depth results on who made the better impression with voters, many debate viewers and political experts have already had their say.
In a focus group of 27 undecided voters in Pennsylvania, pollster Frank Luntz found debate viewers picked Clinton as the winner. Six undecided voters picked Trump, but 16 said Clinton took the first debate.
It didn’t matter much though – Luntz found that the voters didn’t feel much better about either candidate post-debate, according to CBS. “I would like competency and a track record of success,” one voter said. Did he feel like he got that? Luntz asked.
“Not in one person.”
In an Ohio focus group set up by Park Street Strategies, a fickle group of undecided voters refused to pick a winner. Out of 29 voters, not one said Trump won the debate, while 11 picked Clinton. Everyone else declined to pick between their two options, according to the Washington Post.
18 of 20 voters in CNN focus group in Florida say Clinton won debate tonight, @PamelaBrownCNN reports
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 27, 2016
Public Policy Polling, meantime, said instant reactions pegged Clinton as the winner by only 51 per cent.
In a CNN poll, Americans who watched the debate sided with Clinton. Sixty-two per cent said she was the winner, while just 27 per cent named Trump.
Voters thought Clinton expressed her views “more clearly” than Trump and had a better understanding of key issues at heart. Clinton also addressed concerns voters might have about her leading the country better than Trump did – to the tune of 57 per cent compared to 35 per cent.
WATCH: Political commentators Laura Babcock and Supriya Dwivedi reacted Tuesday to the first of three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, saying Clinton succeeded by rattling Trump with personal attacks.
The pundits and experts
Though neither candidate really achieved their objectives, Clinton edged out Trump as winner of the debate, said political strategist Jason Lietaer.
“Mr. Trump did not do much to expand his base last night,” Lietaer said Tuesday on AM980’s The Pulse with Devon Peacock. “Ms. Clinton might have done enough to get a few more, you know those last five or 10 people, she might have done enough to get them thinking about voting for her, or at least voting against Trump or staying home. So, I think, on that measure, she probably wins the debate.”
Lietaer says Clinton did a good job at finding ways to needle Trump on a range of topics, like his wealth, his charitable status, and how he treats his workers.
“It’s pretty hard to fluster a guy that’s unflusterable, and I think she got him a few times,” Lietaer said.
On Trump, Lietaer said at times he saw a man “that was not in control” and “didn’t really know what he was talking about on a bunch of issues.”
“But compared to what I’ve seen in the primaries and in some of his speeches, I actually thought Trump was pretty modest,” Lietaer said. “I actually thought he was more in control than other times I’ve seen him.”
The Washington Post had Clinton at the top of its “winners” list, saying “Clinton wasn’t perfect in this debate … but Clinton was head and shoulders better than Trump. She was, unsurprisingly, very well prepared – using a slew of facts and figures to not only make her positive but also to slam Trump.”
David Gergen, CNN’s expert, wondered if Clinton’s triumph holds much clout in the Republican camp.
“By all traditional standards of debate, Mrs. Clinton crushed … by constrast, he came in unprepared, had nothing fresh to say, and increasingly gave way to rants,” Gergen said. “Even so, I doubt she has put him away … Those who are for him are likely to stick, despite his ineffectual performance.”
Gergen said Clinton fell short in forging an emotional bond with voters, as well.
WATCH: On Monday during the first presidential debate, GOP nominee Donald Trump denied any support in the invasion of Iraq. However, Hillary Clinton said his support for the invasion has been “absolutely proved over and over again.”
Speaking with AM980’s Craig Needles on Tuesday, Western political sciences Professor Dr. Don Ableson said he thought Clinton performed better during the debate, but noted some big questions hang over her campaign.
“There’s a large question mark over how many of the (Bernie) Sanders supporters have they been able to bring into their tent? How many undecided voters are? What is the voter turnout going to be? … On paper there’s no reason in the world that she should lose, but clearly that possibility still exists.”
Ableson said he believes that when Americans enter the voting booth in November, many will likely just vote for the candidate they believe is the least offensive of the two.
“It’s not going to be one of those elections where people feel passionate about Candidate A or B, I think it’s more a question of who they think they can live with at least for the next four years.”
The Guardian’s Tim Stanley said that Trump holds some sway because he’s a household name, while the Atlantic chose Clinton as its winner, saying she delivered a “commanding performance” while Trump interrupted too frequently.
According to the latest polling average from FiveThirtyEight.com, the race is pretty close at the moment: Clinton at 42.4 per cent of the vote and Trump at 41 per cent, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson at 7.5 per cent.
That still leaves about nine per cent of voters unaccounted for or voting for other candidates.
(With files from Carmen Chai and Leslie Young of Global News)