Eyesover Public Opinion Research

The Democrats Iowa Debate Takeaways

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The Iowa debate saw six of the candidates take to the stage in the last debate for the Democrats before the Iowas caucuses, and Eyesover was monitoring the online reaction in real-time. Here were the four key takeaways:

1) Frontrunners = Negativity

The three candidates who generated positive sentiment online during the debate, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Steyer, were also the three who generated the least amount of discussion online. Warren was the focus of the most discussion (not a good thing as we will discuss below) followed by Sanders and Biden, but the three frontrunners all generated negative sentiment on average 

2) Warren’s gambit falls flat  

If Warren was hoping for the public to be on her side when she claimed Sanders told her he did not think a woman could become president in 2020, she was mistaken. Their exchange generated the most online reaction of any of the topics during the debate, and the public was on Sanders’ side by a wide margin. The sentiment of the online discussion about the exchange mentioning Warren was 18% lower than the sentiment expressed in the Sanders mentions. Overall, the Warren comments were exceedingly negative, while those mentioning Sanders were neutral.

3) Medicare for All has a tough road ahead 

The policy issue that provides the most significant distinction between the candidates is their health care proposals. On this front, Buttigieg and Klobuchar received the most positive mentions while the Medicare for All proponents received the lowest sentiment of the six candidates. This is the same result we have witnessed in all of the debates to date.

4) Biden Pulls Back

This was the first debate in which Biden was not the most discussed candidate online. His presence in online mentions has been decreasing over the past weeks, and this trend has continued post-debate as well. For the past month, Sanders has been the clear leader on online mentions, which corresponds with his renewed strength in the polls.

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