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RESULTS: MSNBC focus group declares Hillary debate LOSER, while Trump tanks on CNN and Fox

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Who would have guessed that of the top three cable news networks, GOP nominee Donald Trump would be declared the winner of the first presidential debate on MSNBC?

Focus groups on Fox News and CNN agreed that Hillary Clinton decidedly won Monday night’s debate at Hofstra University, but a smaller panel at MSNBC handed the victory to Trump. Surprisingly, considering the network, the latter panel was criticized on social media for consisting primarily of white males.

CNN commissioned a panel in the critical swing state of Florida and eighteen of 20 focus group members saying Clinton emerged victorious.

Trump’s “temperament” was a key factor for some:

On Fox News, Frank Luntz put together a panel of undecided voters from the swing state of Pennsylvania, with sixteen of the 21 members saying that Clinton won. The other five went with Trump.

One Luntz focus group member said Trump “went off message.”

“Lately, he’s been very good with his speeches and his appearances where he has stayed on message,” the voter said. “No personal attacks. Just sold himself and his plan instead of attacking, and tonight he went back to attacking.”

Another said Trump “was more interested in digging into [Clinton] and just tearing her down.”

“I was really surprised,” the panelist said. “I was really hoping to see a different Donald Trump tonight.”

Keeping things in perspective, a Luntz focus group said Ohio Gov. John Kasich “overwhelmingly” won a GOP primary debate in March.

And there’s also the ever-reliable Drudge Report online poll, where 80 percent of respondents said Trump won Monday’s debate.

It goes without saying that there’s no love lost between Luntz and Trump, with the candidate once calling on then-Fox News chief Roger Ailes to fire the pollster.

Here’s a sampling of insights Luntz posted on Twitter from his focus group:

Tom Tillison

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