Last night, tens of millions of Americans watched Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spar on the economy, race, and national security in the first general election debate. This morning, some are planning to vote a different way than they were before.

Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images.

After the cameras were off, we asked our followers on social media if seeing the two major party nominees go toe-to-toe for the first time persuaded them to change their minds — from Clinton to Trump, Trump to Clinton, third-party to either candidate, either candidate to third-party, or simply from not voting to voting.


For many who spoke to us, the candidates' temperament, judgment, and tone were key factors in their decision to switch.

Here's what they said:

Jessica Morello, New Jersey, general manager, retail pharmacy chain

Photo by Jessica Morello/Facebook, used with permission.

Was: Not going to vote

Now: Clinton

Why she wasn't going to vote: "In past years I always felt like there was one candidate that most reflected my beliefs and needs as a citizen. And I felt that they had reasonable plans and were believable. This year, it's almost embarrassing that these are our choices. I think it's a direct reflection of the result of our declining education system, that these were the two chosen."

What watching the debate was like: "I was very unsettled, and had trouble sleeping. It scared me that Trump could act like that, in such a high esteemed forum, and that so much of the country is still going to vote for him...

We need someone who can build and foster meaningful relationships with other governments. Someone who is willing to make the changes necessary to elevate our country back to where it once was. Trump can't even behave himself in a respectful manner in a controlled public forum."

What she thought of Clinton's performance: "I give her a lot of credit for keeping her cool as long as she did. Lester Holt was doing a pitiful job as moderator. She responded to the questions with facts, plans, specifics. Some of her plans are idealistic, and may not be reasonable, but she answered the questions."

The moment she changed her mind: "When Trump was talking about how he wanted to institute 'stop & frisk' in Chicago and Lester Holt interrupted him telling him that it was ruled unconstitutional. Trump said 'No, you're wrong' and went into a crazy rant."

Could she change her mind again? "I'm going to continue to watch the debates, but I can't imagine anything will happen that will change my vote. Even if my vote does nothing but cancels out a vote for Trump. That's good enough for me."

Shane Foster, California, video producer

Photo by Shane Foster/Twitter, used with permission.

Was: Clinton

Now: Trump

Why he changed his mind: "Mostly Clinton [came] off as if she's better. She was condescending. Yes, Trump was too, but she's had influence in office."

Why Clinton's experience worked against her: "I don't see much improvement in this country. At least Trump has a completely different approach ... why help a country with money slowly owning us while we give them money? If they can pay, why not charge?"

What matters most about the candidates: "Hillary might be calm, she might have demeanor, but I don't think she can get it done. Trump's not much better, but at least he's not doing what everyone else is doing that has led this country down the tube."

William Clark, Wisconsin, driver

Photo by William Clark, used with permission.

Was: Johnson

Now: Clinton

How he saw the debate: "All I heard was rhetoric from the Donald. He also treated the debate and Hillary with disrespect. He is hiding something in his taxes, which I don't like. All in all, he was not presidential at all."

His bottom line: "Donald Trump has anger issues, is easily disturbed, and cannot even keep composure for two hours. Also, Hillary did a great job."

Why he's no longer voting third party: "The race is too tight and Hillary adopted many of Bernie's positions."

Tyler Frederick, Kentucky, student

Photo by Tyler Frederick, used with permission.

Was: Johnson

Now: Clinton

Why he registered as a Democrat earlier this year: "I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary. It's not that I agreed with everything he said but I loved that he was an outsider and was challenging the status quo, both inside the Democrat party and across the political spectrum to begin with. I was not a fan of Secretary Clinton but she won the democratic primary relatively fair and square and I accepted that."

What was important to him before the debate: "I started to hear more and more about Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party. And though I didn't agree with much of his economic policy, I had decided that my vote would be better off supporting a third party candidate. Kentucky isn't a battleground state and isn't even leaning red; it's solid red and there's no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump will win our electoral votes."

What he saw last night: "She came prepared and brought facts to the table whereas he had done more of his classical heat responses with not a lot of substance, just emotion; she had so many zingers and one liners that killed. I was comparing it to a boxing match the entire night and at first they danced around each other and check each other, their opponent, out but once the match really started Trump would go for a punch and Hillary would nail one right in the sweet spot. It became so obvious she knew she was beating him by her big smile toward the end. I liked seeing her be so comfortable, so poised."

What he thinks now: "I'm not entirely convinced just yet, for I still think my single vote for Hillary in a red state will do next to nothing, but I will say this: She demonstrated to me that she is the most qualified individual in this presidential race — Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or Independent."

Emily Hatton, Kentucky, stay-at-home mom

Photo by Emily Hatton.

Was: Not going to vote.

Now: Clinton

How she voted in the past: "I have voted in past elections. My first election was for Bush's second term and I voted for Bush (my family in NJ is a very Republican cop family). The next election I was very enthusiastic about Obama and voted for him. The last election I did not vote. I was let down by Obama and it was some time during his first term that I decided voting is pointless."

Why she stopped voting: "I wasn't going to vote because truthfully, I don't believe it matters towards the outcome of the presidency. I believe voting is something pushed heavily on society to make us feel like we have a say and make most people feel comfortable enough about their say in government that they don't bother doing any other activism that might directly allow people to actually effect real change."

What she thought after watching Trump: "He couldn't stay on topic. He rambled a lot about irrelevant things. He could not just make a point and then stop talking. He's not persuasive. He's not coherent. He's unfit to lead because he can't communicate effectively at all."

How she made her choice: "Hillary does seem corrupt, but she doesn't seem any more corrupt than any other politician. I would rather have someone who conducts themselves professionally, can communicate effectively, has the middle class interest at heart (or so she claims), and has experience but might be doing things with her own interests truly at heart.

I wish a candidate like Trump would be an option, but who clearly cares about making America great again for the people, and not for themselves. Someone who isn't clearly racist and sexist."

How she feels about voting, after watching: "I was so compelled I even registered to vote online halfway through the debate."

If what you saw in the debate impressed you, disgusted you, or even made you feel somewhere in-between, you can find out how to register right here — you've only got two weeks left in many states.
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