While the unscientific polls say otherwise, capital markets and the online bettors say that Hillary dominated last night's debate. However, Trump was the undisputed winner when it comes to another metric: social media engagement. According to Twitter, "the debate was the most tweeted-about political event in the social media company's history." Reuters adds that Trump was the focus of 62% of the conversation on the social media platform, Twitter said. Likewise on Facebook, conversations about Trump made up 79% of debate chat, while Clinton’s share of the conversation was a modest 21%.
As Reuters confirms "Trump stole the social media spotlight during Monday night's U.S. presidential debate", although in a surprising twist he did so on what Twitter users branded his #Trumpsniffle.
Confirming America's fascination with the trivial - and perhaps issues "health-related" - Reuters adds that "the wealthy businessman sniffed repeatedly as he faced off against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in their first debate, giving rise to the hashtag and a surge of interest on social media what might be causing his nose to run. Parody accounts, Donald's Sinuses (@TrumpsSinuses) and Trump sniff (@TrumpSniff), gained a large following."
Trump, 70, told Fox News on Tuesday morning he did not have a cold. "No, no sniffles, no," he said. "No cold." He complained he had a faulty microphone and joked that maybe it was picking up breathing.
Several tweeters seized on the sniffling to hit back at Trump over his repeated digs at the health and stamina of Clinton, 68, who had pneumonia earlier this month.
A compilation tweet showed every instance of Trump's sniffles:
In an unexpected twist, former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean on Monday mentioned cocaine in a tweet discussing Donald Trump’s sniffling during his first presidential debate.
Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) September 27, 2016
According to the Hill, "Dean’s tweet may prove controversial for mentioning — without evidence — illicit drug use and the Republican presidential nominee in the same breath."
Going back to media engagement, Reuters adds that sentiment appeared to go Clinton's way. Social media analytics firm Zoomph said tweets mentioning Clinton ended at a ratio of about 1.5 to 1, which meant that for every negative mention, there were 1.5 positive mentions, Zoomph said. Sentiment toward Trump fluctuated, but ended nearly flat at a ratio of one positive mention to every negative one.
As for what drew social media participants, the most tweeted-about topics were the economy, foreign affairs, energy and the environment, terrorism and guns.
And then there is legacy media. According to Nielsen, more than 80 million people viewed Monday's first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The previous record was the only debate between Republican Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter in 1980, which drew 80 million in an era with far few channels and no Internet. In 2012, the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 drew 67 million viewers. That 80 million number doesn't include numerous streaming options made available.
That said, the population of the United States is also much bigger than it was in 1980, which puts the Reagan-Carter debate in a different context. In 1980, the population was 225 million while today's U.S. population is 320 million.
Some analysts were expecting as many as 100 million viewers to tune in for the Clinton-Trump showdown. The debate drew fewer viewers than the Super Bowl, which in recent years has attracted more than 100 million viewers. The debate easily beat Monday Night Football on ESPN, which is generally the top-rated program on Monday nights.
While it is unclear if just being the most "buzzed" candidate has helped or hurt Trump - after all being a constant source of notoriety is nothing new to the billionaire - one thing is sure, with little resolved and with no definitive winner emerging, the next debate in two weeks time is likely to be as engaging. And just to make sure of that, moments ago Trump already vowed "to hit Clinton harder in next U.S. presidential debate." His supporters are probably asking why he did not do that last night.