LAS VEGAS: Hillary Clinton won the final presidential debate on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) according to an instant survey, getting a 13-point lead over Donald Trump in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.
The snap poll results showed 52 percent of 547 respondents thought Clinton did well, against 39 percent for Trump.
But this was an improvement for the Republican candidate, who got 27 percent and 34 percent in the quick polls following the first and second debates, respectively.
The Democrat’s rating was lower compared with her 62 percent and 57 percent showing in the first and second debates.
The third televised debate in Las Vegas saw Trump double down on claims that the Clinton camp plans to rig the vote, as he said he would keep the public “in suspense” on whether or not he would recognize the result of the toxic 2016 campaign.
Trump had come into the final face-off looking to restore hope to his campaign just 20 days before Election Day.
Asked whether he would commit to recognizing the result of the November 8 vote no matter what, the reality television star said: “I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?”
Clinton declared herself “appalled” by what she said was an attack on 240 years of US democracy.
And, quoting her former rival Bernie Sanders, she called Trump the “most dangerous person to run for president in the modern history of America.”
Dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct, trailing in the polls and losing ground in key swing states, the 70-year-old Trump was looking to capitalize on his last major chance to woo wavering voters.
“The media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile-on is so amazing,” Trump said, referring to reports citing women accusing him of sexual assault, which he said were “fiction” and drummed up by Team Clinton.
He alleged that millions of fake voters had been registered and that the 68-year-old Clinton should not even have been allowed to run because she mishandled classified State department emails.
Some Republican lawmakers were outraged. Senator Jeff Flake said Trump was “beyond the pale” and onetime presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham said that if Trump lost, it would be “because he failed as a candidate.”
Democrats called on Republican leaders to repudiate “Trump’s utter contempt for our democracy,” as Nevada Senator Harry Reid put it.
“One of our hallmarks has always been we accept the outcome of our elections,” Clinton told reporters as she flew home to White Plains, New York.
“So what he said tonight is part of his whole effort to blame somebody else for his campaign, and where he stands in this election.”
The extraordinary exchange was only one of a series of ferocious clashes, as the two stony-faced candidates faced off from behind podiums on everything from immigration to Syria.
At one point, Trump broke into one of Clinton’s responses to call her “such a nasty woman.” The candidates took and left the stage without shaking hands.