Did You Fact Check The Debate? If You Watched Online You Probably Did

During the lead up to the first presidential debate, there was much talk about fact checking and whether moderator Lester Holt  should call the candidates out for false statements. 

He did a bit of that, while often staying out of the fray and letting the candidates hash it out. Clinton, speaking to the audience, asked those interested in checking the candidates’ statements to go to her Web site for real-time fact checks.

A number of other news sites, including NPR News and The Washington Post, live annotated the event, providing context to intense sparring.

An NBC News/Survey Monkey Debate Reaction Poll questioned more than 8,000 adults, immediately following the debate ,through Sept. 27. They weighted the sample to represent the country’s demographic makeup, polling adults who said they were registered to vote on a number of questions, including whether they had visited a fact-checking site during or after the debate.



Not surprisingly, many more Clinton supporters (45%) than Trump supporters (26%) made their way to fact-checking sites during Monday’s event at Hofstra University. There may have been a couple of reasons for this.

Trump supporters disengage with traditional media as they deem it, in essence, an arm of the Clinton campaign. Trump even alluded to this during the debate: “Frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.”

Also, Trump does well with older and under-educated voters, who are less likely to care to fact-check, and are less likely to have watched online.

The Survey Monkey poll also found that while 35% of all debate viewers say they visited a fact-checking site during or after the debate, viewers who watched online were much more likely to have done so.

A strong majority, 59% of online viewers, visited a fact-checking site at some point during or after the event, compared to 37% of cable viewers and 34% of broadcast viewers. For context, however, only 10% of total viewers watched the debate online, with 47% watching on cable and 43% on broadcast, according to the NBC/Survey Monkey poll.

The next debate on October 9 is town-hall style, where voters ask candidates questions fact to face. Clinton won’t as easily ignore piercing questions from an audience member as she did her opponent Monday night. And Trump won’t be able to completely avoid direct questions, either.

You won’t even have to be at the event itself in St. Louis on October 9 to have your say on the questions asked. The networks involved in the town hall have agreed to assess the 30 most popular questions from the Presidential Open Questions site.

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