Who won last night’s debate? The answer varies, depending on which polls you look at, with most polls from the mainstream media showing Hillary to be the victor, while most internet polls put Trump as the victor.
Did the debate change anyone’s mind? According to the Real Clear Politics Average, which averages together dozens of national polls, Trump’s poll numbers have remained unchanged since the debate (staying firm at 44.3 percent), while Hillary increased slightly from 46.6 to 46.7 percent.
While the polls have essentially remained unchanged, the most Googled question following the debate may indicate Hillary may see a boost from those leaning towards her who haven’t yet registered to vote. Hispanic voters are drastically more likely to vote for Hillary than Trump (65-17, according to one poll), and if Google’s analytics are any indicator, their voter turnout may be higher than expected. Via The Washington Post:
Google is an imperfect oracle of popular will, but here’s one trend that seems pretty clear: Searches for the phrase “registrarse para votar” — “register to vote,” in Spanish — hit an all-time high during Monday’s presidential debate, spiking to more than 100,000 searches.
The term was Google’s third trending search in the United States at 10:30 p.m. Monday, preceded only by two phrases related to the Houston shooting. According to Google, search volume was highest in the ever-important swing state of Florida, followed by New Jersey, New York, Texas and California.
A quick note on this data, and what Google means by “trending”: The designation doesn’t refer to the most popular searches, but the ones that — relative to all other searches — are spiking. In other words, the blue trend line above doesn’t show you how many Spanish-speaking people are Googling how to vote. It shows you what normalized share they represent, in the grand scheme of all U.S. Google searches.
Spanish-language searches for voting information have only neared this interest share on one prior occasion: That was after the first presidential debate in 2012. In the current election cycle, the last comparable spike occurred on Aug. 31, the day Donald Trump made his much-anticipated Phoenix immigration speech, though search volume also increased after both parties’ conventions.
Incidentally, Google just introduced a major expansion to its in-search voting guides, the automated Knowledge Box that provides searchers personalized information on how and when to register in their states. (To be fair, this probably compounded the apparent spike from the debates.) While the box was previously only triggered by English-language searches, queries like “registrarse para votar” or “como votar” now also pull up the guides to registering.
On a positive note, 100,000 votes isn’t going to make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things (and many of those who searched won’t actually go out and register). The analytics from social media showed that Trump was the candidate discussed more.
Final share of Twitter conversation around the candidates on stage:
— Twitter Government (@gov) September 27, 2016
What did you think of the debate? Be sure to let us know in the comments if it changed your thoughts on the election.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]