Hillary Clinton has won the second presidential debate according to voters, the first opinion poll has found.

The CNN poll found 57 per cent of people feel Ms Clinton won the debate, compared to 34 per cent of voters who felt Donald Trump performed best.

A further poll by YouGov found 47 per cent of people polled favoured Ms Clinton while 42 per cent backed Mr Trump.

Among people who had previously been undecided about who they would be casting their vote for, Clinton also won narrowly by 44 per cent to 41 per cent.

The heated debate took place following one of the most dramatic and bitter weekends in the election, after footage emerged of Mr Trump allegedly discussing groping women. Mr Trump was challenged by the convenor about his comments. He responded that he was "embarassed" by his comments but said "I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do."

Mr Trump responded by criticising Ms Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, accusing his of abusing women. In a press conference held before the debate, Mr Trump sat with alleged victims of Mr Clinton who accused him of rape and sexual harassment.

“Mine were words, his was action,” Mr Trump said of Mr Clinton.

“What he's done to women, there's never been any body in the history of politics in this nation that's been so abusive to women.”

Mrs Clinton said the comments made by her Republican rival in the recording represented “exactly who he is”.

She added: “We've seen him insult women, we've seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to 10, we've seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter.”

The debate was the second of three televised head-to-head between the two candidates.

The debate took a 'town hall' format, inviting questions from the audience and also sourcing them from social media.