Polls: Clinton won debate but Trump exceeded expectations

Good morning from Augusta and the political world where, wow, that was quite a weekend. Bangor received a visit from Bernie Sanders on Friday, followed by Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld on Saturday. There was the seismic release of the 2005 Donald Trump tape and finally, last night’s presidential debate.

You can read about all of that in what is an exceptionally beefy Daily Brief reading list for a Monday (below), and it’s a holiday at that. If you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t have to work today, I hope you’ve donned a fleece and headed out into this glorious crisp day. If you’re at work and wishing you weren’t, maybe the presidential debate is still on your mind? If you can’t take a stroll outside, take a scroll through the BDN’s live blog from last night.

Today will be replete with analysis of last night’s debate and what it means. I’ve been through some of it already and the prevailing consensus is that Trump delivered a few major gaffes — such as disagreeing with his running mate on Syria — but managed to perform well enough to exceed some of the lowest expectations we could imagine for a presidential candidate entering a debate a month before the general election.

In a CNN snap poll conducted following the debate Sunday, 63 percent of respondents said Trump exceeded expectations, but 57 percent of voters surveyed in the same poll said Clinton won the debate. A YouGov poll of 812 registered voters who watched the debate produced a similar result: 47 percent of respondents said Clinton won, compared with 42 percent who picked Trump as the winner.

One tactic used by the Republican nominee was trying to make it appear as if the very structure of the debate was rigged against him and that the moderators were treating him unfairly. However, analysis of that point by Politico showed that the two candidates had equal amounts of speaking time even though Trump interrupted Clinton and the moderators far more than vice versa.

This campaign has really reached a boil and the heat is being felt here in Maine, too. Trump is scheduled for another visit to Bangor on Saturday and the final presidential debate is scheduled for next week in Las Vegas. Hold onto your hats and pray that this isn’t our soundtrack. — Christopher Cousins

85 legislative candidates sign open government pledge

The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition reports that 85 candidates for the Legislature have pledges to support openness in state government if elected. That seems at a glance like a healthy number until you consider that the coalition sent the pledge to all 365 legislative candidates on the November ballot.

Candidates who sign the pledge agree to adhere to the Maine Freedom of Access Act and oppose attempts to exclude the public from legislative matters contrary to the law. It comes at a time in state government when the LePage administration has just been fined for holding a public meeting in private and as the administration makes it a more-often-than-not practice to ignore questions from reporters and the public. Lawmakers from both parties have also taken heat in the past couple of years for closed-door negotiations on budget bills that amounted to compromises struck by legislative leaders that were then thrust upon the Legislature to approve.

Read the full list of lawmakers who signed the pledge by clicking here. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Can’t vote for Clinton or Trump? Tom Brady for president

Let’s not ignore Sunday’s triumphant return to the field of the greatest quarterback of all time. That’s Tom Brady, for those of you who aren’t into sportsball.

He’s so good that support for his presidential campaign is growing. You can have your Brady for President T-shirt shipped to you right away for $20 and your name won’t even end up on a campaign donor list. We haven’t found Brady yard signs yet but we’re looking. In the process, we found some other memorabilia in case you want a view of the complete ticket before deciding.

There’s the Belichick/Brady ticket, the Brady/Gronkowski ticket and if science fiction is more your thing than sports, buy your Solo/Chewbacca T-shirt for just $16.

Be warned, though. Questions are arising about whether Chewbacca meets citizenship requirements to run for president, and he does have a sort of Howard Dean scream. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.