6 Takeaways from The Iowa Debates

Mobile is the new way to survey Americans

Survey stats: We polled 1200 Americans on the Democratic Town Hall and GOP Debate
What we discovered: Hillary Clinton lost over 14 points, and Donald Trump lost over 28 – giving up ground to other candidates
Most surprising:  Despite losing 28 points, Trump still favored nearly 2-1 over next closest candidate, Ted Cruz

We reached out to over 3500 Americans via their mobile phone to see who tuned into this weeks Democratic and Republican debates. Of the 1200 (35%) respondents, here’s how the key stats on who is most electable, what the voters care about, and how this week’s caucus may affect November’s election.

We reached 1200 Americans in a few hours via their mobile device, here’s the breakdown by gender, age, and political affiliation:


  • 60% female
  • 40% male


  • 21% 18-34
  • 31% 25-34
  • 22% 35-44
  • 14% 45-54
  • 12% >54


  • 33% Republican
  • 41% Democrat
  • 26% Independent

1) Do the debates matter? 

  • 45% – Yes they allow the public to know where the candidate stand
  • 32% – Yes, but feel politicians change their tactics to get votes
  • 17% – No, because politicians will say anything to get elected
  • 5% – No, there are better ways to get their message out

2) How did the Democratic candidates do?

Of those who watched the Democratic debate on Monday, January 25th;

62% felt that prior to the Democratic, Hillary Clinton was the leading candidate, compared to 29% for Bernie Sanders, and 9% for Martin O’Malley

After the town hall, who did the voters believe was “most electable”?

  1. Hillary Clinton – 48%
  2. Bernie Sanders – 40%
  3. Martin O’Malley – 12%

Secretary of State Clinton lost ground to both candidates, and Bernie Sanders is within striking distance – as determined by respondents across the country.

3) Trump may have made a mistake by skipping the debate…will it matter in the long run?

That depends on how you look at the numbers across all respondents – Yes, Mr. Trump was the “leading candidate” as stated by 66.5% of respondents across the country. The next closest was Ted Cruz at a meager 10%.

After the debate, the most electable candidate was still Trump as stated by 38% of respondents. But that’s a drop of 28 points – and NOT just in Iowa as our respondent were randomly selected to participate on their mobile phone from across the country.

  1. Donald Trump – 38%
  2. Ted Cruz – 18%
  3. Marco Rubio – 11%
  4. Ben Carson – 10.8%
  5. Jeb Bush – 10%
  6. Rand Paul – 6%
  7. Chris Christie – 3%
  8. John Katich – 2%

4) What are the important topics for the election?

Among 12 categories presented to respondents, the usual suspects in the lead are the Economy & Healthcare (tied 1st) Education, and Taxes (tied 2nd).

  1. Economy
  2. Healthcare
  3. Education
  4. Taxes
  5. Government Spending
  6. Immigration
  7. Gun Control
  8. Public Safety
  9. Environment
  10. Foreign Policy
  11. Abortion
  12. Religion

5) What’s the impact on future voting choices? Is there any effect on November election? Candidates should take note.

  • 82% of respondents plan on voting for their party’s candidate
  • 54% state they know who they will vote for
  • 25% say their vote can be changed
  • 20% still don’t know

As for November:

  • 5% say they know who they will vote for
  • 2% say that their decision can be swayed
  • 3% still don’t know

There’s a lot of time between now and then, and a lot of votes that can be won – or lost, depending on your performance (or failure to appear) in the upcoming debates.

6) Mobile phones are the new way to survey to gain the opinions of Americans on the election

We surveyed over 3500 Americans in just a few hours to reach 1200 respondents who watched at least one of the debates. While traditional polling houses relies on in-person interviews, or phone calls that take 15-20 min. However, many Americans across all age groups rely on their cell phones as their primary means of communication (57%), and many have even switched to wireless-only (41%).

For more on this survey, and to customize the results views by question or answer, check out the results here.