President Trump’s supporters are more likely to watch the first debate

September 27, 2020, 1:00 PM UTC

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will meet for their first debate of the 2020 general election cycle on Tuesday. The presidential debate could favor President Trump: the latest Economist/YouGov Poll suggests that his supporters are more likely to be watching than those voters who favor his Democratic opponent. 

That may not be too much of a surprise. Younger adults are far less likely than older ones to say they will definitely watch, and age is related to candidate support: younger voters favor Biden, while older ones are more likely to favor Trump.  

Americans who regularity watch MSNBC (85%) are most likely to say will watch the televised event moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, compared to those who watch Fox News (81%) or CNN (75%). 

Those who plan to watch believe the incumbent president will do the best job – or “win” the debate. Expectations – and post-debate assessments – are generally tied to candidate support. 

This time there’s a difference between Biden voters and Trump voters when it comes to how sure they are that their candidate will win. Just as in their answers to this poll’s question of who will win the election, Biden voters don’t think the president will win, but one in four aren’t sure what will happen. Nine in ten of those voting for the president, however, are convinced that their candidate will be the victor, a belief the president has encouraged.  

Related: What Americans think about the 2020 presidential debate moderators

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll  

MethodologyThe Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between September 20 - 22, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.6% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty