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8 charts that explain the first Democratic debate

Tuesday night's Democratic debate was, in theory, a debate with five candidates running for the party's nomination. But any way you slice the numbers, something else becomes clear: The three-hour affair was entirely a battle of Clinton versus Sanders.

Start by looking at how much each candidate talked. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were the only candidates who spoke more than debate moderator Anderson Cooper. Jim Webb didn't even get in half as many words as the CNN anchor.


You can also splice the debate by looking at when candidates spoke. Again, you see Clinton and Sanders dominating. Both dropped memorable lines in the middle of the debate, during an exchange about Clinton's emails. Webb's most memorable moments, however, were when he complained about not being allowed to speak for long enough.


Sanders and Clinton weren't just dominating on the debate stage — they were the candidates viewers wanted to learn about, too. You can see that in search data from Google.

Which candidate was most searched for during the debate?


The saddest candidate of the debate was Lincoln Chafee

Other candidates did have smaller moments of success.

Webb generated a small Google search spike, particularly when he mentioned the enemy soldier he killed during his service as a Marine in the Vietnam War.

New Facebook followers gained during the debate

Then ... there is Lincoln Chafee. Sadly, not a single candidate onstage mentioned Chafee in the course of the debate.

Clinton and Sanders were the only candidates whom any of the five wanted to talk about; each got more name checks during the debate than the other three contenders combined. And, as Vox's Alvin Chang predicted, Chafee got exactly zero mentions from his fellow debaters.

The politician who got the most name checks Tuesday night wasn't Clinton or Sanders — he wasn't even onstage. Democratic candidates mentioned President Obama way more than they referred to one another.

Total mentions in the first Democratic debate

Trump, Carson still dominate from offstage

Even with their social media gains Tuesday night, Democrats still lag far behind leading Republicans in terms of Facebook followers. Ben Carson, for example, has more Facebook fans than Clinton and Sanders combined.

Total Facebook followers, as of October 14

Correction: An earlier version of the article confused Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley's numbers of new Facebook followers. The text has been corrected to reflect the right numbers.

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