Tonight was the second Democratic debate in Detroit. This wrapped up the second round of debates and what is likely the last time 20 candidates will face-off on back-to-back nights, since future debates will have much more stringent requirements for participating. Ten candidates squared off for a two-hour debate broadcast on CNN tonight. Who do you think won tonight’s debate? After you’ve read this article, vote in the poll at the end.
The candidates who were in tonight’s debate for the Democratic nomination were Jay Inslee, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden.
FiveThirtyEight has said that primary debates can change the outcome of the election, especially if the early debates. Nearly 60 percent of people in studies have shifted their choice after watching a debate. In a primary, viewers consider the likeability of a candidate and how compatible a candidate is with them on the issues. The earlier in the election cycle (and the less information a person has about the candidates) the better in terms of a debate’s impact. Not surprisingly, studies have also shown that candidates do better when they have more speaking time during a debate. Since this is just the second round of debates, it’s likely to have a bigger impact than debates months away from now, if these studies are accurate.
Tonight’s debate was a great opportunity for lesser-known candidates to get their message out there in front of the public. And the earlier time for the debate (it started an hour earlier than the debates did last month) might help increase viewing numbers, especially on the East coast.
During the last debate in June, Gabbard was the most-Googled candidate after her debate. And Andrew Yang trended on Twitter the next day because of claims that his mic was turned off at times during the debate. Meanwhile, the showdown last month between Biden and Harris got a lot of attention in the media. Tonight’s debate brought all these people onto the same stage, along with Inslee, Gillibrand, Bennet, de Blasio, Booker, and Castro. So far out of the candidates featured tonight, Yang, Harris, Biden, and Booker have all qualified for the September and October debates, according to their campaigns.
But who was the ultimate winner of tonight’s debate? Will it be based on who had the best answers overall? Will it be based on who got the most questions or the most speaking time? Or will it be about the candidate who had the most memorable quotes or the most meme-worthy encounters with another candidate? Or will it be the candidate who trends tomorrow based on a question or factor that we can’t even guess right now?
Now that you’ve read the article, vote in Heavy’s poll below. Who do you think won tonight’s debate? The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name below.