Clinton outpaced Trump in search engine requests during debate

Figuring out who won the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is entirely dependent on who you ask.

But when it came to who won on Google, Clinton surged past Trump during Monday night’s debate at Hofstra University in New York.

Clinton accounted for 60 percent of the debate-related Google searches during the three hours of coverage of the event, compared to 40 percent for Trump, according to Google Trends.

Prior to the debate, Trump was leading in the search count in 34 states.

Eric Herzik, chair of political science department at University of Nevada, Reno said it’s difficult to gauge what the actual impact of those searches may be.

“One of the problems is you don’t know if they are Googling to fact check or just out of interest for the candidate,” Herzik said Tuesday.

The top-five searches related to each candidate from Google Trends provided a mixed bag of topics, but showed that several voters were fact-checking the candidates for themselves during the debate.

Searches for Clinton included “What emails did Clinton delete?” and “What did Clinton’s dad do?”

For Trump, they included “How much money did Trump get from his dad” and “How many times has Trump filed bankruptcy?”

When it came to issues searched during the debate, voter registration (how to register) and police were tops in Nevada, matching the national trend, according to Google.

But afterward, Nevada veered from the norm. ISIS came in at third nationally but ranked just seventh in Nevada searches.

After voter registration and police, Nevada’s top five was rounded out, in descending order, by immigration, race issues and the economy.

Contact Colton Lochhead at or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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