After the second presidential debate, Republican pollster Frank Luntz announced Donald Trump is back in the race.
After a controversial video recording of Trump giving lewd, vulgar comments about women surfaced and gave a devastating blow to his campaign, many people had been anticipating how he would perform in the second presidential debate.
Before the debate took place, Luntz admitted he was among those who thought Trump’s campaign was lost. However, after the debate, he talked to a focus group of undecided voters from Missouri, and their responses made him change his mind.
"Based on their response ... I have to change my mind,” Luntz said. “I think tonight was so significant that is he back in this race.”
Luntz asked the voters to describe the candidates’ performance in one word or phrase. The voters said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s performance as unapologetic, disingenuous and frustrated. One of them said Clinton did not have “a single new idea.”
On the contrary, they described Trump’s performance as calm, more researched, more presidential and strong.
Commentator Todd Starnes said Trump gave a “solid performance.”
“We have a saying down in Dixie: Donald Trump shucked it to the cob,” Starnes wrote in an article. “His campaign was teetering on the brink. Republicans have abandoned him in droves. And yet, he came out and delivered a solid performance.”
Trump came on the offensive and launched attacks against Clinton, even saying he would get a “special prosecutor” to handle her case.
“And I’ll tell you what. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor,” Trump said at the debate.
Although many people said this was the worst part of the debate, others are saying it was the best part for one reason, Luntz said.
“Why did Trump's "prosecutor" line do so well? Because most Americans (56%) think Hillary should've been indicted,” Luntz tweeted.
When asked if Trump was successful in putting behind the video controversy, the voters did not have a unanimous opinion.
One man said it could indeed be just simple locker room talk, as Trump claimed. On the other hand, a woman said the whole thing was an “issue of character.” However, it was not a major issue to the voters.
“The group cares more about Hillary’s emails than Trump’s ‘locker room talk,’” Luntz tweeted. “Trump’s tape is bad for him, but Hillary’s emails are even worse for her.”
Before the debate, the voters were equally split between Trump and Clinton. After the debate, the group was 18-4 in favor of Trump.
Twenty-one (21) of the voters said Trump had a more positive impact on them during the debate, while only nine said the same of Clinton.