I haven’t been following US elections closely but I did watch both debates and both competing “town halls”.
Moderator was vastly more competent in final debate.
Biden again did not collapse in a heap, which is about all he needs to do to beat Trump at this stage
But this time Trump, with the help of the mute button, did avoid actively undermining himself. He again came over as running against the political establishment, which was easy given that the Democrats picked Biden.
I would say Trump’s position slightly improved (as it has been doing for the past week with Rasmussen polls before the debate showing nearly even approval and disapproval among likely voters, peaking at 52% approval on October 22). The election is still about Trump and neither the pro nor anti-Trump sides have much hope of, nor interest in winning over people on the other side. Nor are there many genuinely undecided to win over.
What really matters is who actually votes in the swing states. That is much harder to predict.
I would guess that Trump’s aim was to reduce the number of Republicans who don’t bother to vote because they despise his “character” and increase the number of black and latino Democrats who don’t bother to vote because they know the Democrat establishment politicians don’t actually deliver.
Buried underneath irrelevant data about what others think, this poll suggests Trump succeeded in that:
Slightly more Trump supporters indicated that their likelihood of voting had increased and slightly more Trump opponents indicated that their likelihood of voting had decreased.
The outcome is now less certain than it was before the debate. While it is reasonable to assume a majority vote against Trump and the polls up to now indicate swing States will deliver a substantial Electoral College majority as well, the details matter in each State and it would be hard to be certain even if following very closely.
One interesting feature is shown by articles at above Rasmussen site. In swing States Democrats are overwhelmingly more likely to vote early than Republicans and a very large proportion of registered voters are voting early.
That makes it less likely that an apparent victory for Trump on election day could be subsequently reversed as results of disputed postal voting come in later. Assuming Trump loses, he will still dominate the Republican primaries and the USA will still have a large, mass based mainstream far right party claiming the election was stolen from them. But that claim will be far more intensely believed by Trump supporters if their defeat was not confirmed on the night, but only after postal votes.
If on the other hand Trump wins a majority in the Electoral College, or more dramatically in an election thrown by Republican State legislatures and Supreme Court to the House of Representatives voting by State delegations, the Democrat implosion would be even more spectacular than four years ago when they started ranting about the Kremlin.