Biden/Trump Debate — What Undecided Voters Think

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By Emmanuel Yashim

A group of U.S. voters who could not choose between Joe Biden and Donald Trump before Thursday’s presidential debate delivered their verdicts after the contest and it was almost universally bad news for Biden.

Of the 13 “undecideds” who spoke to Reuters, 10 described the 81-year-old Democratic president’s performance against Republican candidate Trump collectively as feeble, befuddled, embarrassing and difficult to watch.

Gina Gannon, 65, a retiree in the battleground state of Georgia, voted for Trump in 2016 before ditching him for Biden in 2020.

“Joe Biden looked very weak and confused right from the start. It concerns me that our global enemies see Joe Biden in this manner.

“I was shocked and dismayed. I hate to see our president acting that way on TV and in front of the world,” Gannon said.

She added: “I am voting for Donald Trump now.”

Presidential debates typically have limited influence on voters but Biden and Trump are in a tight race and the election will likely be decided by just thousands of votes in a handful of swing states.

Both candidates need to win over the relatively small number of voters who have not yet decided who to vote for.

Biden delivered a shaky, faltering performance while Trump battered him with a series of often false attacks.

Biden’s poor showing rattled his fellow Democrats and will likely deepen voter concerns that he is too old to serve another four-year term.

Seven of the nine voters who were dismayed by Biden’s performance told Reuters they were now leaning towards Trump because they no longer believe Biden can perform his duties as president.

Three of those said they would vote for Trump in his Nov. 5 election rematch with Biden, even though two of them said they do not like the former Republican president.

Meredith Marshall, 51, who lives in the Los Angeles area and is self-employed, said the debate left her in shock.

She voted for Biden in 2020 but is now leaning toward Trump, given what she described as Biden’s lack of mental acuity.

“God forbid if my choices are as they stand right now based on this debate. Hands down I would vote for a liar and a convict over a person who doesn’t seem to be all there mentally.”

About 20 per cent of voters say they have not picked a candidate in this year’s presidential race, are leaning toward third-party options, or might not vote at all, according to the most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Reuters interviewed 15 such voters ahead of Thursday’s debate, and they agreed to be interviewed again after the event about whether the debate changed their views.

It was not all bad news for Biden.

Ashley Altum, a 28-year-old mental healthcare manager from South Carolina, had been torn between Biden or a third-party candidate before the debate.

Now she is leaning more towards Biden.

She said she was satisfied with Biden’s responses, given he was more willing than Trump to address questions directly.

“I did see Biden slipping up quite a bit, but I’m always surprised more people don’t in these situations,” she said.

“I think that anybody could go up there and speak eloquently is impressive to begin with.”

Biden pointed out in the debate that Trump, at 78, is only three years younger.

“But Trump was just Trump. From a cognitive decline perspective, I didn’t see that in Trump,” said Tom Reich, 36, a software engineer from South Carolina.

The issues of age and mental capacity exploded onto the campaign trail in February following a report by a Department of Justice special counsel that suggested Biden was suffering memory lapses.

“What a disaster for the Democrats,” Scott Harrington, 63, a fishmonger in Massachusetts, said after watching the debate.

“I was basically undecided but was hoping Biden would have been good enough so I could vote for him. I dislike Trump intensely.

“I was worried Biden would show he was not up to the job, but he was even worse than I feared. I might just abstain,” he added.


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