Last night’s Presidential debate was the most-watched debate in American history, presenting a huge potential for the candidates to make in-roads with the massive group of undecided voters who don’t identify with either party. Most instant polls had Clinton winning handily, but what did social media users think?
Networked Insights has been following this year’s election, using our analytics platform Kairos to analyze millions of online conversations, using a weighted model to predict the performance of the candidates on a state by state basis. So far, it’s worked pretty well. A month ago we had Trump winning Ohio and Florida. Two weeks after that, the polls caught up.
Last week, our model had Trump winning NC and NV, and this week the polls caught up.
After the first debate, our data confirms that not only did Clinton win, but that her performance may have helped her turn key battleground states Ohio and Florida from red back to blue. She also managed to turn Colorado, which voted for Obama in the last two elections, from red earlier this week back to blue.
Perhaps most importantly, last week the map slightly favored Trump, but with the reverse of those 3 states, and it now favors Hillary.
A Social Bonanza
Whoever performed the best in this first debate, online conversations were through the roof. There were over 3 million conversations about Trump and Clinton over the 2-hour period of the debate, with Trump receiving over 2.2 million posts.
To put that into perspective, up to that time, he was getting 600,000 mentions a day before the debate.
Clinton drove over 800,000 mentions in a single hour, where in the past she had only been garnering about 200,000 conversations a day. So they Trump and Clinton drove about 4 times the amount of conversations they had typically been driving.
Key Themes: Race Issues and Stop and Frisk
Looking at themes and key topics in the conversation, comments about Trump keyed in on Clinton’s tax policies, the email controversy, the Iraq War vote, Stop and Frisk constitutionality, climate change and race issues.
Those discussing Clinton focused on race issues, Clinton’s calmness during the debate, Trump’s interruptions and Clinton’s baiting tactics.
Clinton’s percent of negative conversations went down significantly from 25.7% a week ago to 21.7%, while Trump’s decreased only slightly from 23.8% to 22.4%. Intent to vote for Hilary stayed increased from 1.8% to 2.0% of all conversations, while Trump’s decreased from 2.3% to 2.0%.
Negative Trump comments were focused primarily on issues of tax avoidance, poor performance, callousness and the nuclear threat.