Of likely voters who watched the debate, 52 percent said Clinton won compared with 21 percent for Trump, according to the NBCNews SurveyMonkey Debate Reaction Poll.
Another 26 percent said neither candidate won.
The survey is the first scientific poll based on a representative national sampling of 7,541 adults. Other polls, some of which declared Trump the winner, have all be unscientific Internet surveys with no controls over who responds.
The poll was conducted online from Sept. 26 through Sept. 27.
In another development, The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper, endorsed Clinton for president today (Sept. 28).
She is the first Democrat backed by the paper in its 126-year history.
The editorial board wrote that the choice came down to temperament. “Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president,” the editorial said. “Donald Trump does not.”
During the debate, Trump was, at times, theatrical and belligerent. He repeatedly interrupted Clinton, talked in rapid-fire sentences and appeared agitated and verging on out-of control, like a road-raging driver.
Among those polled, both Republican and Democrat, 53 percent said Clinton had the temperament to be president while 63 percent of those asked said Trump did not, according to the poll.
“The challenges the United States faces domestically and internationally demand a steady hand, a cool head and the ability to think carefully before acting. Hillary Clinton understands this. Donald Trump does not,” the editorial said.
During her term as Secretary of State, Clinton was under constant attack by congressional Republicans and a host of right wing rumor and conspiracy mongers.
Congressional Republicans spent $7 million dollars investigating the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi, Libya, but were unable to uncover any wrong-doing by then Secretary of State Clinton, according to TheHuffington Post.
No “stand down” call was ever found, one of the cornerstones of the Republican claims and Stevens’ family went on the record saying Clinton was not responsible for his death.
Her attackers clearly overplayed their hands. “The vehemence of some of the anti-Clinton attacks strains credulity,” the conservative newspaper said.
In contrast, “Trump hasn’t even let the American people scrutinize his tax returns, which could help the nation judge his claims of business acumen,” it added.
In fact, not one of the chief executives of the nation’s 100 leading companies is supporting his campaign.
Trump is still facing considerable problems with women voters, and his debate performance didn’t help.
Among women voters overall, 69 percent said Trump does not have the personality and temperament to serve as president. Among women who consider themselves Independents, 80 percent gave him a thumbs down. Trump must make inroads among that group if he hopes to win.
But he still has lots of work to do in his own party. One quarter of Republican women said the same thing, according to the NBC poll.
The editorial chastised Trump for “a stunning lack of human decency” for repeatedly making degrading comments about women and minorities.
In a stunning blow to one of the centerpieces of Trump’s campaign, the paper said Clinton’s stance on immigration issues is far closer to what Arizona residents want than anything Trump has suggested.
“Instead of offering solutions, he hangs scapegoats like piñatas and invites people to take a swing,” the editorial said.
Clinton has also won endorsements from three other traditionally Republican newspapers, The Cincinnati Enquirer in swing state Ohio, and the two largest newspapers in red state Texas, The Dallas Morning News and The Houston Chronicle.
Another bedrock Republican newspaper, the Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire, trashed Trump’s campaign in a scathing editorial and endorsed the Libertarian third-party candidate.
Read The Arizona Republic’s editorial online here.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest election coverage.