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Democratic voters think Hillary Clinton “overwhelmingly” won debate, PPP survey says

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A Public Policy Polling survey of Democratic primary voters nationally who watched Saturday night’s debate finds that it reinforced Hillary Clinton’s front runner status.

Viewers overwhelmingly think she won the debate, and particularly trust her over the rest of the Democratic field when it comes to issues of national security.

Key findings from the survey include:

Sixty-seven percent of voters think Clinton won the debate, to 20 percent for Bernie Sanders and 7 percent for Martin O’Malley. On a related note, 63 percent of viewers said the debate gave them a more positive opinion of Clinton, compared to 41 percent who said it gave them a more positive opinion of Sanders, and 37 percent who said it gave them a more positive opinion of O’Malley.

Clinton is by a wide margin the candidate debate watchers trust the most on national security issues. 75 percent say they have the most faith in Clinton on that front, compared to only 17 percent for Sanders, and 5 percent for O’Malley. National security issues were a primary focus tonight in the aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy in France, and Democratic voters by far and away trust Clinton the most on that issue.

What’s particularly striking is how universal the sentiment that Clinton won the debate tonight is among all the different groups within the Democratic Party. 86 percent of African-American, 73 percent of women, 70 percent of moderates, 69 percent of seniors, 67 percent of Hispanics, 65 percent of liberals, 61 percent of white voters, 58 percent of men, and 50 percent of younger voters all think that Clinton was the winner of tonight’s debate.

Overall among those who watched the debate tonight, 67 percent say they plan to vote for Clinton in the primary to 25 percent for Sanders, and 4 percent for O’Malley.

Clinton came into tonight’s debate as the clear front runner for the Democrats and these numbers make it clear that the debate and particularly Clinton’s strength on national security issues just reinforced her front runner status.

PPP interviewed 510 Democratic primary voters nationally by telephone after the debate who had been pre-screened Thursday and Friday as planning to watch the debate and willing to give their opinions about it afterward. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.3%. This research was conducted on behalf of Correct the Record.

Full polling memo results are available here.

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