The Debate Showdown: Trump vs Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head to head at the first presidential debate on Monday. A record-breaking 84 million people tuned in to witness the face off.

Trump spent the majority of the speech on the defensive, provoked by Clinton and host Lester Holt. He angrily defended accusations of racism, sexism and tax avoidance, while frequently interrupting Clinton. Clinton’s focus throughout the debate was avoiding incriminating questions related to private email servers.

Things got heated with Clinton declaring, “I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that has ever happened.” To which Trump quickly interrupted with “Why not?!”

Trump was questioned about his refusal to release his tax returns, something that all previous presidential candidates have done. Trump claimed that he was under audit and couldn’t release them but that he would release them when Clinton releases her 33,000 deleted emails from her private server.

Clinton briefly responded to the private server scandal saying it was a “mistake” for which she has no excuse and takes full responsibility.

We used our content analysis tool – Toneapi – to uncover the emotions evoked throughout each candidate’s debate transcript.

Toneapi can analyse content for over 20 emotions, compare and contrast different forms of content using A/B testing and help to can optimise content.

Hillary Clinton



The analysis shows that Clinton’s debate had a positive Adorescore (Content Score) of 23 with the more intense emotions being ecstasy and admiration.

Clinton’s content mainly focused on the words “well” and “country” which positively impacted the presence of the positive emotion.
Donald Trump


The results show that Trump’s debate had an Adorescore of 10. Although this is still a positive score, Trump tails behind Clinton by 13 points. The most intense emotions throughout his narrative were ecstasy and a significant presence of grief.

Trump mainly focused on the topics “country” and “great” which derived the most ecstasy and admiration and “wrong” which led to the evocation of grief within the text.

Reaction online

As with every step of this presidential campaign, the debates sparked an influx of viewers voicing their opinions online. Many of the reactions included Clinton supporters claiming that Donald was displaying his sexist tendencies by interrupting Hillary a total of 28 times throughout the debate. Trump supporters claimed that the debate was rigged and that Clinton wasn’t asked the right questions to allow viewers to fully assess her potential.

See a few reactions below:

So who came out on top?
Although there is a lot of debate over who is the clear winner of the duel, a report by CNN claimed that Hillary Clinton was the clear winner. However, there are still another two to go before voting day.

As one of the most controversial presidential campaigns the US has ever seen, the outcome on November 8th will be eagerly awaited and we can’t stop watching!

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