This is unbelievable to me, but here are the poll numbers that Trump and Hillary are tweeting, post-debate:
Breitbart (leans right): 76-24, Trump (yawn—no surprise)
Variety (leans left): 55-45, Trump (major surprise)
NJ.com (Jersey; leans...?): 57-39, Trump (not a major poll)
The Hill (leans...?): 59-36, Trump (major poll for pols)
Drudge (leans right): 80-20, Trump (I consider this very unreliable given heavy bias)
Time (leans left): 59-41, Trump (I'm flabbergasted)
CNBC (leans left): 61-39, Trump (this was most shocking of all)
Before we move on to what Hillary Clinton tweeted, let me say that I automatically discount the polls hosted by the rightie sites. Of course they're going to skew Trumpward. Duh. That means nothing. What horrifies and fascinates me, though, are the polls from unabashedly leftie sites like Time, Variety, and for God's sakes—CNBC.
In some of his videos, Styxhexenhammer666 makes the point that there are two parallel realities: there's the legacy-media reality, which is where most of the population probably gets its information; then there's the online reality, which has grown and metastasized, right under everyone's noses, into a formidable beast that now produces statistically significant psephological results. People only paying attention to the legacy data being gathered by folks like Nate Silver are completely missing the groundswell of online activity, most of which favors Trump at this point. Therefore, it's more likely that it's the online people who are madly clicking these legacy-media polls, which means that people focused on legacy media are, for the first time, seeing the concrete results of this ever-burgeoning online reality. Like a scenario from a fantasy novel, one universe is slowly, steadily, spilling into another.
Onward to Hillary's tweets.
CNN (leans left): 62-27, Hillary (no surprise)
...and that's it. That's the only poll that Hillary quoted. Amazing.
Could my perception of the debate—admittedly gained through the filter of both leftie and rightie commentary—really be that skewed? My post-debate impression, garnered in part from sober commentators on the right, some of whom openly support Trump, was that Hillary was more articulate, more substantive, and more coherent than her opponent. This was not only a testament to her debate prep, but also to Trump's failure to attack Hillary's more obvious weaknesses. Rightie talking heads like Stephen Green claim this is because Trump lacked the factual knowledge to actually attack Hillary on the facts... yet the above polls—poll after poll—seem to suggest that none of this mattered to great swaths of the American populace: instead, impression was everything.
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has been calling Trump a grandmaster-level troll for some time. Some of the commentators that Hairy Chasms visitor King Baeksu has pointed to have been talking about Trump's mastery of "psy-ops." Scott Adams of Dilbert fame half-jokingly refers to Trump as a "wizard," a master manipulator of mass perception. I'm left to wonder what, exactly, it is I'm witnessing. Is Trump really that good a manipulator of people's impressions? Can he really lose a debate and still seemingly win it, if by "winning" we mean "poll better than his opponent"? What sort of creature is this?
I've felt this way before. In fact, I felt this way all during the GOP primary debates. Trump would tout the polls; I'd wave them off. Trump ended up the GOP front-runner, then he became the GOP nominee for president. He's even received an open, explicit endorsement from Ted Cruz—the man Trump had branded as "Lyin' Ted." All I can say is that I'm in a state of disbelief. Can this really be happening?
If the map doesn't match the terrain, then a sane person, a scientific person, knows he must redraw the map. I'm not saying that I now plan to endorse Trump, but I am saying that I'm going to have to be less bearish about his electoral prospects.
Breitbart: "Who Won the First Presidential Debate?"
Variety: "Who Won the First Clinton-Trump Debate? Vote Now!"
NJ.com: "Who won the presidential debate (9/26/16)? How did Clinton, Trump do in the first debate?"
The Hill: "Who Won the Debate?"
Drudge: "WHO WON THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE?" (shouty all-caps)
Time: "Who Won the First Clinton-Trump Debate?"
CNBC: "Clinton or Trump: Who Do You Think Won the First Presidential Debate?"
CNN: "Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the best job in the debate – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?"
Note: unlike the polls Trump cited, the CNN poll was apparently administered differently. It wasn't an insta-click online poll; instead, it was a telephone-interview poll of 521 registered voters who all watched the debate. (LINK) The online polls have votes numbering from the hundreds of thousands to the millions.
Note 2: CNN (see link below) says its survey sample of 521 people skewed significantly Democrat. I appreciate CNN's honesty.
UPDATE: The Daily Mail surveys a bunch of online snap polls.