The Trump vs. Clinton race goes on: 2016 presidential race not yet settled after first debate

Hillary Clinton did a very good job during the debates, as she was expected to, while Donald Trump had a hard time trying to decide if his open glove style is appropriate or not in the given circumstances (it was not and he was smart not to use it). Yet, despite winning the debate, Hillary Clinton has yet to reap the benefits. Two days after the debate, the Real Clear Politics poll of polls indicates that she only got half a percent (.5%) boost in preferences, while Donald Trump maintained the course. The paradox of a non-zero sum game can be explained by the slight drop in traction for the other two, minor, candidates, Stein and Johnson.

Trump vs. Clinton poll of polls after the first debate 09-28
Trump vs. Clinton poll of polls after the first debate 09-28

Other indicators are a bit more generous with Hillary Clinton, although the lead she is given is not very large. The Iowa University prediction market (a political futures market or “serious betting” on politics, if you want) suggests a slight increase in Clinton’s shares and equal decrease in Trump’s.

Clinton vs. Trump Prediction Market Values as of September 28
Clinton vs. Trump Prediction Market Values as of September 28. Hillary Clinton in slight ascendance.

These changes are not reflected, however, in Google Search Trends. A significant spike in searches for Hillary Clinton the night of the debate was followed by a return to business as usual.

Searches for Trump have been just as frequent if not a bit more numerous as those for Hillary Clinton over the next two days after the debate. This should be considered against the backdrop of constant and higher presence of Donald Trump’s name in Google searches.

Google Trends Labs also offers a very interesting suite of visualizations about the campaign.  They provide some great insights into what is going on under the “media” hood. For example, this map shows prevalence of YouTube views for each candidate at county level. If I were Hillary Clinton, I would worry. In four battleground Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin Trump viewers dominate. Sure, they might be watching clips that deride Trump, but, hey, in his case the old dictum may apply more than ever “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

YouTube views for September 2016 of Clinton (blue) vs. Trump (red) clips at county level
YouTube views for September 2016 of Clinton (blue) vs. Trump (red) clips at county level

It will be a long, hard slog this campaign.

Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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