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Social data says Trump won Millennials, lost Millennial women in 1st debate

By Jordan Hanson  •  September 27, 2016


Social data says Trump won Millennials, lost Millennial women in 1st debate

Posted by: Jordan Hanson on September 27, 2016

In case you happen to be living under a rock and missed what many media outlets billed as the first Presidential debate to reach Superbowl audience proportions, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debated for 90 continuous minutes last night.

Let's take a look at what the social data tells us about how the candidates did, shall we?

Trump played the Millennial male audience well.

Social media trend data pulled from Infegy Atlas demonstrates a consistent bias towards Trump among male audiences over the past 18 months.


Donald demonstrates 55% engagement from a male audience, with slightly higher sentiment from his male audience members by an average of 3 percentage points. This is in line with other election forecasts that indicate the race is too 'close to call'. To Mr. Trump's credit, despite a disappointing bounce from the Republican National Convention, he seems to have drawn within striking distance over the former Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, tends to win with women by a similar margin when analyzed over the same time period.


Her margin is just two points of difference between the audience gender categories.

One flaw of such an evaluation is that it tends to oversimplify the way people evaluate gender groups as a voting demographic. It really isn't just "Men versus Women' in reality, because each different voting block is simultaneously comprised of other multiple identity categories that may sway a voter's opinion.

I am not just a white woman, for example, I'm a white college-educated transgender woman with a very particular set of lived experiences that modify how I perceive the world around me. Similarly, while it might seem ‘true’ to group all women into a similar category, the reality is often quite different.

The above data, for example, tells us that over the last eighteen months, Hillary has tended to outperform the Donald with women, but that's not a guarantee that the trend will continue to hold.

Again, to Mr. Trump’s credit, he has retained some loyalty from conservative women, while making a direct play for Millennial voters who feel Hillary is still a worse choice than Bernie Sanders.

Hillary won Millennial women last night, though.

One of the great, untested assumptions of the political coverage of this campaign is that Hillary seems like she will win with female voters, period. With Clinton's comfortable Summer lead in the polls evaporating as November draws near, the Clinton campaign can't afford to make such wide generalizations.

Clinton vs. Trump by age demographic (women only)


Based on her debate strategy and post-debate actions, Clinton seems keen to press that demographic advantage.  

Immediately after the debate, the Clinton campaign ran an ad telling the story of how Trump treated Alicia Machado, the first Miss Universe crowned after Trump originally bought the pageant.

Trump no longer owns the Miss Universe pageant after buying the full rights from NBC last year and selling them to WME/IMG after just three days as the sole owner.

The crucial question then - is Hillary's play toward Millennial women her cornerstone strategy moving into these final six weeks of the election? The Washington Post commented in their own post debate analysis that she seems to be vying for segments of "the electorate still up for grabs, especially college-educated white women."

In a head-to-head look at how women felt about Trump last night? Women discussing Hillary Clinton favorably both during and after the debate are actually more prone to be higher education students, too.


Predictably, Trump seems unphased by Hillary's initial debate performance.

The next presidential debate is scheduled for October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri at 8PM Central time (9PM Eastern, 6PM Pacific). Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, of CNN and ABC respectively, will moderate the debate in the following format according to the Commission on Presidential Debates:

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

In the meantime, you should catch the Vice Presidential debate  on October 4th in similar format to the one we saw last night. Stay tuned for more coverage as the election inches towards decision day.


In this post, we used social data as a way to supplement other reporting like political opinion polling. Our latest report - focusing on wireless carriers - demonstrates how you can monitor existing KPIs using social data, particularly if you want to know about consumer opinion.

Don't forget to check out our latest report:

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Topics: polling, election, voting, clinton, replacing polling with social data, election 2016, trump, voters, presidential campaign, debate


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