Undecided voters call Trump 'bully' and Biden 'better than expected' after debate

A focus group of undecided voters called President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE a “bully” and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE “better than expected” following their first debate on Tuesday night.

Most participants in Republican pollster Frank Luntz's virtual focus group of 15 voters remained undecided after the chaotic Cleveland debate, saying they wanted to hear more about the candidates’ plans on the coronavirus, racial injustice and uniting the country, Politico reported on Wednesday.

After the debate, four decided to vote for Biden and two sided with Trump, while the nine others have yet to pick a candidate. The six women and nine men all hail from swing states, including Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.


Most of the focus group perceived the president negatively, including one who committed to voting for him. The words they used to describe him included “unhinged,” “arrogant,” “forceful,” a “bully,” “chaotic” and “un-American.”

The focus group members reportedly called Biden “better than expected,” “politician,” “compassion,” “coherent” and a “nice guy lacking vision.”

Luntz ran the session before allowing reporters to ask questions of the group.

The four voters who ended the night committing to voting for Biden appeared appalled by Trump, with one identified as Joe from Arizona saying, “He inflames a lot of anger in this country.”

One voter who committed to Trump, Luke from Wisconsin, called him “annoying” and “unpresidential” but said he ultimately decided to vote for him because he trusts how he’d handle the economy and “law and order.”


Joe in North Carolina said the debate had him leaning Biden after the former vice president made “no significant gaffe” despite Republicans painting him in advance as “senile” and “sleepy.”

About five of the 15 voters said Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy stood out to them, with at least two saying it was the his “worst moment.”

The focus group’s only Black person, identified as Kimberly from Ohio, said she remained undecided post-debate and that she wanted to hear more about how the candidates planned to manage race relations, according to Politico.

Substantive policy discussions were overshadowed by cross-talk and insults during the debate. Biden called Trump a “liar” and a “clown,” and the president pushed the limits of debate decorum with his frequent interruptions of the former vice president and moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceYarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' NIH director expects booster shots to be expanded, despite recommendation MORE.