Sunday night’s Town Hall debate drew 69MM viewers (down nearly 20% from the first debate) but there was no shortage of dramatic moments.
To understand what viewers were thinking, our team reviewed the top search trends to understand what topics viewers were most interested in. Below are our top 7 insights from Sunday night:
- The line between reality and fantasy is blurred with these candidates. The top trending questions for both Clinton and Trump were related to who plays each candidate on SNL. Interesting the top search results on Google for both Clinton and Trump is Darrell Hammond (it assumes the search is for Bill Clinton). Kate McKinnon is the latest actress to portray Hillary.
- The top questions related to each candidate involved their most infamous moments. For Clinton it was related to Benghazi and for Trump it was related to his comments about women. In 2016, it is still possible to live under a rock.
- Trump knows how to drive interest in himself. Regardless of state, people search 2x as often on Trump as they did Clinton during the week leading up to the debate. Majority of this interest was due to his recent comments about women.
- The economy and abortion continue to be hot topics this presidential season. The top debate searches within 48 states was on one of these topics. However, people in Iowa are most interested in ISIS while New Yorkers are searching most about immigration.
- Ken Bone is the better dressed, 2016 version of Joe the Plumber. Bone became an overnight sensation when he asked the candidates about their energy policies, but the real impact was that red cardigan. Several websites have reported the ¼ zip sweater has sold out. As of Wednesday, Amazon only has small and large sizes available in that classic red.
- Debate moderator Martha Raddatz has officially broken onto the scene. The primary question during the debate was whether she was a Democratic or Republican. But for American males, a top search inquired about her marital status (hint: she is married).
- On the encouraging side, the debates have caused people to look up how to vote. 66% of eligible Americans are registered to vote and 86% of them actually voted in the 2012 election. According to Google, searches for ‘how to vote for…’ is at the highest rate ever.
On November 8th, Americans will take to the polls to select a presidential candidate and their Senate and House choices, as well as their state and local candidates. While it’s questionable whether the debates will change the minds of the already-decided, they definitely get Americans talking, and searching, about issues and the candidates.