Hillary Clinton's post-debate surge is now clear

Hillary clintonJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesHillary Clinton onstage at an event in Akron, Ohio.

Hillary Clinton’s predicted polling surge following the first presidential debate last week has arrived.

A series of new polls released this week captured the Democratic nominee’s increasing national lead following a well-received first debate performance and a week of tough stories for her Republican opponent, Donald Trump.

A CBS poll released Tuesday found Clinton leading Trump by three points with 45% support nationally among likely voters, a four point swing from when a similar CBS poll was conducted in September. The same poll showed Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson with 8% support, and Green party candidate Jill Stein with 3% support.

A CNN/ORC poll released Monday found Clinton in even better shape among likely voters nationally, with a five point lead over Trump in a four way race. Similar YouGov/Economist and Morning Consult/Politico surveys of national voters taken after the debate also found Clinton with leads large than the margins of error, despite Trump’s lead in many national polls going into the debate.

The slew of surveys follow a week that found Trump’s campaign on the defensive over a number of controversial comments and revelations.

The real-estate magnate inspired outrage after he repeatedly lamented the weight-gain of Alicia Machado, the winner of the 1996 Miss Universe pageant whom Trump publicly asked to slim down. And on Saturday, a New York Times report revealed that the Republican presidential nominee reported in his 1995 tax returns a loss of over $900 million which may have allowed him to skirt paying federal income taxes for almost two decades.

Still, the appearance of volatility in the polls may be somewhat overstated.

Some experts like like Sam Wang of Princeton University assert that the polling is actually as stable as in other years, largely because most likely voters have already chosen which party they will support.

“The polling data is surprisingly invariable,” Wang told Business Insider following the first debate. “This year’s election is as stable as four years ago in 2012, with Obama versus Romney, maybe even a little more stable.”

He added: “Even though this year is weird, it probably reflects increasing voter polarization.”

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