Trump and Clinton Elbow for Debate Buzz Online

trump clinton debate

As Clinton and Trump exchanged barbs on the presidential debate stage Sept. 26, internet users weighed in with their own form of public opinion on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump dominated 79 percent of conversations on Facebook, where the most talked about issues of the night played into topics his campaign has been pushing: taxes, ISIS, racial issues and the economy, according to data provided by Facebook.

But a closer look at the Facebook data shows those conversations may not have garnered positive postings. The debate’s top moment generating the most Facebook posts, comments, likes and shares was Trump’s statement that his “strongest asset” was his temperament. That comment tipped off a wave of gasps and laughter within the Hofstra University auditorium and tongue-in-cheek responses on Facebook and Twitter feeds. 

In Google trends, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton dominated browsers. National search query interest in Clinton during the debate surpassed her rival for only the fifth time in 2016: she was searched more than Trump in all 50 states, according to Google.  Online interest in the candidate may also prove to have spurred real-life action. Search interest in volunteering for Clinton was 120 percent higher than Trump for the evening.

Still, online search interest in “Trump won” surpassed interest in “Hillary won” by 90 percent during the evening, Google data showed, calling into question just how online buzz will translate into opinion polls and actual votes in the weeks ahead.