The Final Presidential Debate: Who Won?

Evan Green, Staff Reporter

After Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis at the start of October, and after the President refused to participate in an online debate, it became a very real possibility that there would not be any more presidential debates during the 2020 campaign season. But on Thursday, Oct. 22, 12 days before election day, the final debate took place between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

After the debate that took place on Sept. 29, many Americans were anxious to see what new rules and regulations would be implemented to improve the final debate. The main new feature was microphones that would be muted while the other person was speaking. 

This new feature led to a much more controlled debate during the first half, with both candidates remaining fairly calm and paying much more attention to what the other had to say. During the second half, however, both candidates did become quite heated on many issues. 


This intensity during the second half was still a significant improvement compared to September’s debate; as while both candidates played offense, they did so in a much more controlled manner. The introduction of the muted mics seemed to improve the debate overall, but the question still remains, who do Americans think won the debate?

President Trump certainly had something to prove going into this debate given the fact that he currently is tailing Biden in the national polling average by almost ten points, so for any hope of winning, Trump needed to pull off a victory during this debate. While the full effects of the debate can’t be properly measured for at least a few days, preliminary polls from ABC 7 News and WPRI seem to indicate that Americans are split regarding the candidate’s performances.

WPRI has Biden winning the poll by 30%, while ABC 7 has Trump winning by just 1%. At this point, it’s impossible to say whether Trump made any significant progress in his campaign with this debate, but as the election draws closer, it seems inevitable that if the polls don’t narrow up soon, Biden stands the better chance of winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College.