Aug 4, 2019

Who won last week’s debates? We have a different way of finding the answer.

Author: Deep Root Analytics

Some political scientists have argued that post-debate spin and coverage matters a lot more than debates themselves.

So, after last week’s two Democratic debates, is there a way to quantify who won the true test after the debate? We set out to try.

Deep Root is an audience-powered analytics company that does four things: identifies an organization’s ideal audiences, analyzes how they consume media for optimal advertising, integrates them into platforms for linear, addressable and digital ad delivery, and measures how those audiences are being impacted by paid and earned media.

Our Deep Root Platform includes Earned Media Audience Measurement, a robust tool that matches mentions of certain topics on TV to our in-house audience-specific ratings data derived from cable set-top boxes and smart TVs. While traditional media monitoring only tallies candidate mentions, we believe it’s important to measure the reach of news stories among key voter audiences, as that informs downstream changes on measures like name ID, favorability or ballot strength.

When deployed after the last week’s debates, clear trends are apparent. Here’s what we found:

Night One was about Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with Warren getting the edge.

In the 48 hours after the debate, over 230 million impressions about Elizabeth Warren were delivered to Swing Voters and 208M were about Bernie Sanders. The next closest was Marriane Williamson at 68.7M, a distant third.

Joe Biden broke away from the field on Night Two.

Nearly 385M impressions about Joe Biden were delivered in the 48 hours after night two, more than any other candidate in the field and nearly twice as many as Night Two’s second place performer, Kamala Harris.

Swing Voters saw coverage of Marianne Williamson on ABC.

ABC devoted 23% of the impressions to Swing Voters delivered by its network to Marianne Williamson, the same amount it gave to Bernie Sanders and 1% more than Elizabeth Warren. By contrast, CBS devoted only 10% to Williamson, and NBC 12%.

Fox News likes covering Tulsi Gabbard.

Every network devoted less than 5% of its impressions to the Hawaii Congresswoman except Fox News at 11% and ABC at 8%.

Some candidates got shut out by major networks.

If you look closely at the charts above, you’ll see that Sen. Amy Klobuchar got blanked on NBC and Congressman Beto O’Rourke is missing in action on NBC and ABC. As the debate fields narrow in the fall, these candidates inability to drive post-debate coverage might be their downfall.

To learn more about Deep Root Analytics and our Earned Media Audience Measurement product, visit