Many wondered what would happen when U.S. Presidential candidates first took the same stage. In fact, the anticipation was so high, more than 80 million Americans tuned their sets to watch Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sound off making it the most-watched presidential debate in history. No doubt more tuned in through other screens like Twitter’s live stream.
While television and video allow us to see the debate, it’s social media that gives us our voice. It enables us to praise candidates when they reflect our views or scorn them when they don’t. Social media lets Americans vote before the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.
The drama of the debate was reflected in social media. Engagements swelled throughout the debate peaking when Clinton responded to Trump’s criticism of her stamina. While the moment generated more than nearly 600,000 engagements, 159,000 of them for Clinton, it came in second in terms of TV attention.
The moment getting the most TV attention occurred just under 30 minutes into the debate, when Clinton stated she had the feeling Trump would blame her for everything during the debate. Trump’s response, “Why not?” was his top moment on social media, creating 172,000 engagements for the Republican Candidate.
A notable negative moment in the debate was when Trump and Clinton addressed the birther issue. Positive sentiment declined for both candidates suggesting voters were unhappy with how both candidates responded to the question.
The major cable news networks have taken away different talking points from the debate. CNN is focusing on Clinton’s attack on Trump’s taxes. Fox News and MSNBC, on the other hand, are addressing the topic of U.S. jobs from different perspectives. Fox News has been replaying the clip of Trump discussing fleeing jobs while MSNBC is airing the clip of Trump questioning why Clinton hasn’t put forth any jobs solutions in the 30 years.
In terms of overall social engagements during the debate, Trump had a slight edge. His social media engagements outnumbered Clinton’s 1.6 million to 1.5 million. However, that margin is much closer than normal. Typically Trump garners more than double Clinton’s social media engagements.
Trump’s average positive sentiment during the debate was also higher than Clinton’s. However, social media indicates Clinton did make progress with voters. Typically, her positive sentiment on social media is around 55%. But, during the debate it was 10% higher than average compared to Trump’s whose positive sentiment declined slightly.
There’s still more than a month left until the presidential election and more debates remain. Stay tuned as we cover how Americans are responding to the candidates and the issues in the limitless focus group.