CNN Democrat Debate Draws 9 Million Fewer Viewers than GOP Debate with Trump
15 million viewers tuned in to see the first Democrat-Socialist debate on CNN.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 14, 2015
The first GOP debate on FOX News drew 25 million viewers.
So Democrats failed to make the big splash they were hoping for.
Final ratings won’t come in until later in the day. But preliminary Nielsen ratings indicate that CNN’s Tuesday night debate was the highest-rated Democratic debate ever.
The 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours averaged an 11.2 household rating, meaning that 11% of all American homes with TVs were tuned in.
The previous Democratic debate record was set in 2008, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama squared off in prime time on ABC. That debate had an 8.9 household rating and 10.7 million total viewers.
The total viewer number for Tuesday’s matchup will be released on Wednesday afternoon. It will be much lower than both recent Republican debates, but the early data suggests there was still a surprising surge of interest in Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb’s first time together on stage.
Heading into Tuesday night, there was unanimous agreement that the total audience would be lower than the 25 million who tuned in for Fox’s Republican debate on August 6. That debate — fueled by Donald Trump — shattered all previous primary debate records.
The Republican rematch on CNN September 16 averaged more than 23 million viewers, essentially confirming that the GOP debates are the highest-rated new “show” of the fall TV season.