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Trump v. Clinton debate: Who won? Here’s what pundits, pollsters are saying

Click to play video: 'Who had the upper hand in the presidential debate? Here’s what Trump and Clinton’s body language reveals'
Who had the upper hand in the presidential debate? Here’s what Trump and Clinton’s body language reveals
Body language expert Mark Bowden delves into Trump and Clinton's body language at the U.S. presidential debate, including Trump's frequent sniffing – Sep 27, 2016

They sparred over revealing income tax returns, deleted emails and even who has more “stamina” for the job: presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wrapped up their first debate Monday.

While pollsters are still gathering in-depth results on who made the better impression with voters, instant reaction and experts have already had their say. Here’s a look at who “won” the debate, based on initial responses.

The undecided have spoken

In a focus group of undecided voters in Pennsylvania, pollster Frank Luntz found debate viewers picked Clinton as the winner.

Five undecided voters picked Trump, but 16 said Clinton took the first debate.

READ MORE: Snap polls suggest Hillary Clinton wins first debate against Donald Trump

It didn’t matter much though – Luntz found that the voters didn’t feel much better about either candidate post-debate, according to CBS.

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“I would like competency and a track record of success,” one voter said. Did he feel like he got that? Luntz asked.

“Not in one person.”

WATCH: Mount Royal University political analyst David Taras joins Global Calgary to discuss who won the first U.S. Presidential debate.

Click to play video: 'Who won the first U.S. presidential debate?'
Who won the first U.S. presidential debate?

In an Ohio focus group set up by Park Street Strategies, a fickle group of undecided voters refused to pick a winner.

Out of 29 voters, not one said Trump won the debate, while 11 picked Clinton. Everyone else declined to pick between their two options, according to the Washington Post.

Public Policy Polling said instant reactions pegged Clinton as the winner by only 51 per cent.

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Real vs. fake

In a CNN poll, Americans who watched the debate sided with Clinton. Sixty-two per cent said she was the winner, while just 27 per cent named Trump.

Voters thought Clinton expressed her views “more clearly” than Trump and had a better understanding of key issues at heart. Clinton also addressed concerns voters might have about her leading the country better than Trump did – to the tune of 57 per cent compared to 35 per cent.

READ MORE: Promises, blunders from the first presidential debate

When it came to sincerity and authenticity, it was a close call though. Fifty-three per cent of those polled by CNN said Clinton was more sincere while 40 per cent said Trump was being real.

The viewers thought Trump spent more time attacking his opponent.

WATCH: Political commentators Laura Babcock and Supriya Dwivedi reacted Tuesday to the first of three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, saying Clinton succeeded by rattling Trump with personal attacks.

Click to play video: 'Experts call Clinton’s bating of Trump key to debate victory'
Experts call Clinton’s bating of Trump key to debate victory

The pundits have their say

The Washington Post had Clinton at the top of its “winners” list.

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“Clinton wasn’t perfect in this debate … but Clinton was head and shoulders better than Trump. She was, unsurprisingly, very well prepared – using a slew of facts and figures to not only make her positive but also to slam Trump,” the Post’s analyst said.

But David Gergen, CNN’s expert, wondered if Clinton’s triumph holds much clout in the Republican camp.

READ MORE: Braggadocious? Donald Trump said it. And the Internet had to look it up

“By all traditional standards of debate, Mrs. Clinton crushed … by constrast, he came in unprepared, had nothing fresh to say, and increasingly gave way to rants,” Gergen said.

“Even so, I doubt she has put him away … Those who are for him are likely to stick, despite his ineffectual performance,” Gergen suggested.

He said Clinton fell short in forging an emotional bond with voters, too.

WATCH: On Monday during the first presidential debate, GOP nominee Donald Trump denied any support in the invasion of Iraq. However, Hillary Clinton said his support for the invasion has been “absolutely proved over and over again.”

Click to play video: 'Presidential debate: Trump denies support of invading Iraq'
Presidential debate: Trump denies support of invading Iraq

The Guardian’s Tim Stanley said that Trump holds some sway because he’s a household name.

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“Trump was a serious presidential candidate in large part because he starred in The Apprentice — because he played a boss on television and so could, in theory, do it in real life. He might be an unexpected politician, but this was a role he was born to play,” he wrote.

READ MORE: Donald Trump: I’ll release tax returns when Hillary Clinton releases emails

Finally, the Atlantic chose Clinton as its winner. Its commentators said she delivered a “commanding performance” while Trump offered too many interruptions.

“One, from Hillary Clinton, was wonky, crisp, and polished; if not always inspiring, it was professional and careful. The other, from Donald Trump, was freewheeling, aggressive, and meandering, occasionally landing a hard blow but often substance-less and hard to follow,” its post read.

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carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

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