Biden is still leading in the polls, and voters say he won his first debate against Trump

Key Points
  • Democrat Joe Biden came into the first debate ahead of President Trump in the national polls.
  • The first scientific polls to ask who won the debate Tuesday night show Biden coming out on top.
  • A CNBC/Change Research poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday found 53% of likely voters nationwide said Biden did a better job in the debate, compared with 29% for Trump.
Biden and Trump's fiery first debate—Here are the highlights

Democrat Joe Biden came into the first debate ahead of President Donald Trump in the national polls. If voter reactions to the first debate are any indication, Biden is likely to keep a hold on the lead after the face-off, too.

Here's what some of the national polling trackers said Thursday morning:

Three polls asking who won Tuesday night's debate show Biden coming out on top – though respondents, along with most commentators and even the moderator himself, gave dismal reviews to the contest itself, which appears to have changed few minds.

A CNBC/Change Research poll conducted Tuesday night and Wednesday found 53% of likely voters nationwide said Biden did a better job in the debate, compared with 29% for Trump. The poll also found 45% of those surveyed saying Trump performed worse than expectations, while 11% said the same for Biden. 

But just 2% of respondents said the debate changed their vote, versus 98% who said it didn't.

The venomous first showing, marked by incessant interruptions and personal attacks by the candidates, and exasperation from the moderator, was panned by critics and viewers alike. CNBC/Change Research, for instance, found 77% of voters saying the debate did not make them feel proud to be an American. 

"I'm just sad with the way last night turned out," the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, told The New York Times on Wednesday.

Still, a 55%-28% majority of respondents in the CNBC/Change Research poll said there should be more debates this year. Two more presidential debates are on the schedule, with the next one set for Oct. 15 in Miami. The Commission on Presidential Debates said it will make changes to the rules in light of Tuesday's display.

Another poll from CBS News' battleground tracker gave Biden the edge in the debate, 48%-41%, while 10% said it was a tie. A large majority of respondents in that poll, 69%, said they felt annoyed watching the debate. That poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

An instant poll from CNN and SSRS, with a higher margin of error of plus or minus 6.3 points, showed 60% of respondents calling Biden the victor and 28% saying Trump won the debate.

Trump declared victory, though the president has repeatedly attacked Wallace in the wake of the debate.

"I won the debate big, based on compilation of polls etc," Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Trump's camp also touted polling to suggest he won, including unscientific Twitter polls in which anyone can participate. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, for instance, cited one such Twitter poll from C-SPAN.

Wednesday's CNBC/Change Research poll also showed Biden gaining ground nationally over Trump: 54% of respondents picked Biden, while 41% picked Trump. That's wider than the gap currently displayed by some national polling average trackers.

The CNBC/Change Research poll sampled 925 national likely voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.22 percentage points. The margin of error grows to 3.47 points for questions about the debate, which were asked to the 796 voters in the poll who said they watched it.

With a month to go until Election Day, the president's window to change the trajectory of the race is rapidly narrowing.

Not only has Biden's polling lead held steady for months, but the Democrat's campaign is posting some of its biggest-ever fundraising numbers: Biden campaign officials said they raised $3.8 million through ActBlue in the final hour of the debate, a record for the site.

Recent developments in the campaign have also galvanized Biden's supporters to shell out more money. ActBlue said it processed more than $100 million in contributions following the death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.

Trump's supporters have been quick to point out that Democrat Hillary Clinton was heavily favored to win on the eve of the 2016 election. While Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, she lost in the Electoral College as a result of a series of narrow defeats in key swing states.

But many of those same states now show Biden ahead in polling averages, albeit narrowly in some.

RealClearPolitics' battleground tracker, which follows polls in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona, has Biden up 3.5 points over Trump on average.