Here's Why There's Disagreement Over Who Won the Debate

October 14th 2015

Diana Crandall

Who won the first Democratic debate last night? It depends on who you ask. There’s quite a bit of speculation about who came out on top—with a heavy focus on candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Not as much buzz was generated about candidates former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, and former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, though all participated in the televised event.

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Forbes implied that Clinton visually out-shined her opponents when it came to her body language, posture, and smiles. Vox complimented Sen. Sanders on his character and honesty, a streak not usually seen in presidential candidates. Sanders even came to Clinton's defense when it came to Clinton's email scandal.

Beyond the impression they made on the public, post-debate small nuances between their policy stances matter.

A few issues.

Throughout the campaign, marijuana has separated the two candidates. Sanders has been honest about having smoked pot twice, and said he would vote to legalize recreational marijuana if he lived in Nevada, a state that will vote next year on legalizing pot.

“I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses,” Sanders has said. "I think we have to think through this War on Drugs, which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system."

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Clinton has not spoken out in favor of legalized recreational marijuana, though she does support medical marijuana.

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In light of her announcement, get to know Hillary Clinton's stance on marijuana, higher education, LGBT rights, immigration, and the environment.

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Another issue where the two are more clearly divided is gun control. Last night, Clinton was asked whether or not Sanders is tough enough on gun reform, she was quick to say "no."

"Senator Sanders did vote five times against the Brady Bill," she continued. This is one of the few issues where Clinton is actually seen as more liberal than Sanders on.

However Bernie Sanders gained the most Facebook followers, according to data from Crowdtangle. He added more than 35,000, raising his total to 1.69 million. Clinton added approximately 18,000, increasing her following by 1 percent, which is about 1.54 million total. Sanders was also at the top of Google trends.

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