A general rule about debates is this: a candidate should know the issues, should know where he stands on the issues, and should know where his opponent stands (and stood) on the issues. Hillary Clinton met exactly that challenge on Monday night and Donald Trump didn’t.
During the past couple of weeks, Clinton dropped considerably in the surveys. The debate probably helped her put an end to this. This being said, in a presidential campaign, many voters take repeated looks at the candidates. In the past, several candidates such as Barack Obama in 2012 and George W. Bush in 2004 have performed poorly in the first debate, but were able to come back and do better in the succeeding debates. It is possible that Donald Trump will do the same. However, he has to make a more appealing case for change and expand his electoral coalition. And most of all, he needs to make voters comfortable with the kind of change that he is offering, namely convince them that he has the temperament and know-how to be president.
More on the first U.S. presidential debate in my interview on the news show “10vor10” on Swiss television (in Swiss German):