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Why Trump won the debate on social media

Trump has said he won the first presidential debate after a number of online polls determined him the winner. But, as DW's Social Media team found out, most of those voters were strident Trump supporters.

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@dwnews - Why Trump is winning the presidential debate on social media

After a record 80 million people tuned in to watch the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the general verdict was that Clinton came out on top. 

A CNN/ORC snap poll showed that 62 percent of respondents declared Clinton the winner, against 27 percent for Trump. This was the only poll that gathered a sample of respondents that was representative of the American public.

However, that did not stop Republican Donald Trump from declaring himself the winner. He even had a handful of online and social media polls to prove it.

Meanwhile, in numerous polls conducted on social media by news organizations, including Deutsche Welle, Trump came out the outright victor.

Other news organizations, such as CNBC, Time magazine and ABC News, also saw similar results on their social media polls.


Deutsche Welle's Social Media team investigated who was voting in the polls and found that an overwhelming number were stringent Trump supporters.

Such online polls are completely open to anyone and, unlike scientifically conducted polls, do not seek a representative sample of respondents.

As it turned out, Trump supporters jumped on to these online polls and voted in droves after pro-Trump groups on online community websites such as Reddit and 4chan posted links to around 70 different online polls.

Polls matter

Although these polls were not conducted scientifically, Trump shared the results across his social media feeds. The former real estate mogul also told Fox News on Tuesday morning, "I won every single poll other than CNN, and not many people are watching CNN."

The hashtag #TrumpWon was even the top trending item in the hours following the debate.

DW's Carl Nasman told DW News that these results matter, "because the average social media user doesn't know that these polls are not scientific and might confuse them for something that is conducted in a scientific manner."

"That can be a problem if a candidate decides to treat them as the real deal, and that is exactly what Donald Trump is doing," Nasman said. "This all creates somewhat of an echo chamber. Trump supporters who vote in these polls then see … that he won the debates."

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