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Louisville Millennials Weigh In On First Presidential Debate

Clinton Trump debate

As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squared off in person for the first time, about 100 University of Louisville students laughed, groaned and cheered their way through a presidential debate watch party on campus Monday night.

The millennial cohort could be especially important for Clinton, who is trying to consolidate young liberal voters who might opt for a third party candidate.

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Clinton got just 31 percent of support among likely voters between ages 18 and 34. Though Trump trails at 26 percent, 29 percent support libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and 15 percent support Green Party candidate Jill Stein, per the poll.

Dominic Cinquina, a junior at U of L majoring in marketing, said he’s an undecided voter, but he was leaning away from Donald Trump after Monday's debate.

“I don’t really trust his temperament,"Cinquina said. "It seemed like tonight he really struggled even trying to form a sentence in any sort of rebuttal on a pretty civil debate. I don’t think that’s necessarily going to transfer to the White House well."

Trump interrupted Clinton many times during the debate, the first of three this fall. The event was also the first time Clinton and Trump had appeared onstage together during this election.

Victoria Carrier is a junior majoring in psychology at U of L. She said she supported Bernie Sanders' candidacy and has been slow to come around to Clinton — a concern among Clinton supporters nervous about her ability to draw Democratic voters to the polls.

“I don’t get to be proud to vote for Hillary Clinton. It’s more like proud that I’m not voting for Donald Trump,” said Carrier, who will be voting for president for the first time this year.

Hayden Williams, a senior majoring in economics and a Trump supporter, said the debate was a "good show" but expected Trump to perform better in future events.

“I was a little surprised by the lack of aggression on behalf of Donald Trump. But in a way it’s kind of to be expected, there’s more debates ahead,” Williams said.

The next debate is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.