Four debates down, eight to go.


Four debates down, eight to go. As we head into the fifth match-up of the cycle, here’s a look back at what we’ve seen so far, and what we’re looking for later this month…

First, some context.

Here are some recent posts to help contextualize the debates we’ve seen so far, and the ones to come:

Let’s look at the debates we’ve had so far…

June. The first democratic primary debate kicked off on June 26th featuring 20 candidates and six women, across two nights. You can see the full breakdown of the questions here, and our key takeaways here.

July. The July debate was also spread across two nights, 10 candidates each. The question breakdown is here, and key takeaways are here.

September. The September debate saw the field narrow a bit, and with 10 candidates qualifying, it was held on just one night instead of two. The question breakdown is here, and key takeaways are here.

October. October was also a one-night event, but it broke a few records. With twelve candidates on stage and four of them women, this debate marked the largest primary debate and the highest number of women in a major debate ever. The question breakdown is here, and key takeaways are here.

And when you put them all together:

Note: These tallies include questions and rebuttal prompts directed at candidates

Looking ahead.

As you can see by the numbers, while women fielded their fair share of questions and rebuttal prompts in the debates, questions related to women’s issues have been few and far between. While women make up 51% of the population, topics such as reproductive rights, child care, pay equity, paid family leave, caregiving, and sexual harassment only received 4% of the questions.

However, this month’s debate will be led four women moderators, the second debate ever to feature an all-women panel. So, we’re hoping they’ll bring more women’s issues to light. Because after all, women’s issues affect everyone, not just women.

Stay tuned for our full thoughts on what to watch for on the 20th, and follow along with us on Twitter during the debate at @OnGender for our real-time gender analysis.

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