Television ratings reported by Nielsen for the second presidential debate held Sunday October 9th were down about 25% from the first head-to-head debate of this election cycle, but live streaming likely made up for some of the slack. YouTube, for instance, registered a 40% increase in views of debate content from the second debate and Twitter reported that viewers of its live stream rose 30% over the first debate.
According to our AudienceView platform, at least 20,000 U.S. adults conducted an online search in the lead up to the debate seeking to find out when, how and/or where they could stream or watch the debate online. Overall, this group of individuals skewed younger, male, educated and Hispanic. While those with the highest household income were the most likely to have searched for information on streaming the debate, those with incomes in the $30,000 range were also 12% more likely than average to fall into this set even as those with incomes just above and below under-indexed.
Who Wanted to Watch the Debate Online?
Naturally, Americans who are tuning into the debate are expected to have a higher degree of interest in politics and to even be ardent backers of Trump or Clinton. AudienceView solidly confirmed this, but found that Clinton supporters were 34% more likely than Trump supporters to have searched to watch the debate online or streamed the debate.
Trump versus Clinton
With a growing number of Americans watching the debate online, we can expect online searches related to the topics covered to grow as well. When looking at the top issues that were trending on the day and night of the second debate, Hitwise data revealed that alleged sexual assaults/misconduct conducted by Donald Trump and Bill Clinton were among the fastest growing top debate search trends. Searches for “Trump video,” for instance, accounted for one in every 2,870 searches resulting in a click to a news or political site on Sunday October 9th. The Sunday prior, this search variation didn’t even register among the top 50,000 referring search terms. Individuals associated with Trump’s hot mic video, including “Billy Bush” and “Nancy O’Dell,” also became the new focus of news and politics searches on October 9th.
Even though “Bill Clinton rape” accounted for considerably fewer news and political searches on Sunday October 9th (one in every 9,038 searches), this exact variation was 19 times more common than Hitwise observed the Sunday prior. The women making allegations against the former president also gained traction, with searches for “Kathy Shelton,” “Juanita Brodderick” and “Paula Jones” all up considerably from the week before.
With Trump un-endorsements among party elites growing, Americans were also more interested in top Republicans on the 9th than they were the week prior. For starters, searches for “Pence” and “Mike Pence” were 41 and 18 times greater on October 9th than they were on October 2nd. Likewise, searches for “Paul Ryan” were up 17 times and searches for “Paul Ryan heckled” appeared for the first time on Sunday the 9th as a new search topic.
The top trending issue-based search not including sex or endorsements was “carried interest,” which accounted for one in every 8,238 news and political searches on October 9th whereas it didn’t register at all the week prior.
Top Trending Election Searches
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