Lost in so much of the commentary about how Donald Trump handily won last night’s debate are the polls that show he lost.

A CNN/ORC snap poll of debate watchers, which the network admitted was an audience that had skewed slightly Democratic, showed Clinton emerging the victor by 57 to 34 percent. That, despite the fact that 63 percent of respondents said Trump beat their (extremely low) expectations. Those inclined to dismiss this poll and go with a gut impression of last night’s events have to reconcile the fact that Trump’s loss was confirmed by a YouGov poll of debate watchers. That survey found Trump lost the debate to Clinton by 47 to 42 percent—a narrower but nevertheless definitive margin. That poll showed Clinton won among “undecided” voters and appeared more presidential than Trump to 57 percent of respondents.

The disparate reaction to Trump’s performance from the pundit class and average debate watcher is important. The notion that Trump had exceeded expectations and had Clinton on the ropes on several occasions is not groundless. Clinton finds herself on her heels whenever she is forced to defend President Barack Obama’s record. The impression that Clinton spent the night off balance is, however, one that is limited mostly to the political right. There’s a reason for that. Trump spent the debate appealing to and reassuring his base voters. They surely loved his performance. There’s just one problem with this theory of the electorate: There’s not enough core Trump supporters to win the White House. The celebrity candidate needed to expand his appeal, and he demonstrated on Sunday that he has no interest in doing that.

For confirmation of that, look no further than the display Trump put on prior to the debate. After a devastating 48 hours, he needed to change the narrative, so he pushed the trigger on the nuclear option. Just minutes before the debate began, Trump held a press conference with three of Bill Clinton’s accusers–Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey—and Kathy Shelton, the victim of sexual assault by a man Hillary Clinton was assigned to defend in an Arkansas court. These women issued a searing volley of attacks on Bill Clinton for his alleged abuses and on Hillary Clinton for attacking their characters. The spectacle surely thrilled the right even if it turned off more voters than it energized. And that was probably the point.

“Expect Team Trump to keep hounding Clinton for her husband’s long-ago behavior, I’m told,” Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reported. “His strategists gleefully believe it rattled her.” If it rattled her, that surely didn’t show up in the polling. But it is clear that Team Trump thinks they’ve struck gold by making Bill Clinton’s indiscretions and allegations of criminal conduct a closing argument. The pro-Trump right is busily validating this decision. This is the campaign that the talk radio contingent of the conservative movement has always wanted to see a Republican run against Hillary Clinton. Many an anti-establishmentarian conservative convinced themselves that the GOP was simply too go-along/get-along to call such a risky play. For them, Trump is the answer to Republican timidity.

To be clear: there is nothing gauche about stating clearly that Bill Clinton was a sexual predator for whom Democrats morally compromised themselves at every available opportunity. The hand-wringing from the left over the temerity of even bringing up the matter of Clinton’s alleged a serial infidelity (and worse) is hypocritical. That is not to say that Trump’s approach will be effective. Republicans who decline to attack Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s indecencies are not being timid; they’re being prudent.

In August, 62 percent of respondents polled by YouGov said that it would be “inappropriate” for Donald Trump to “bring up Bill Clinton’s past personal behavior as a way to attack Hillary Clinton.” That includes 66 percent of women, 58 percent of self-identified independents, and 50 percent of Republicans who voted for someone other than Donald Trump in the primaries. Only among all self-identified Republicans—and specifically among Trump voters—was this line of attack considered “appropriate.”

This is a base play and a risky one at that. It will thrill Trump’s supporters and forestall more defections among GOP lawmakers. More critically, it will satisfy the Breitbart wing of the conservative movement, who only ever wanted to see someone really stick it to Hillary Clinton the way they would if given the chance. But there is no evidence that Trump will benefit from this in the polls. When asked who won the second presidential debate, 64 percent of women told CNN Clinton won. 50 percent of women told YouGov pollsters the same. This isn’t because Donald Trump didn’t have many strong moments in Sunday night’s debate; he most certainly did. It’s because swing-voting women aren’t listening to him anymore.

Trump is now running the campaign that the talk radio wing of the GOP has always wanted to see in practice. They may soon come to regret it.

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