Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Presidential Debate Viewership Sets A New Record

I wrote a post a few days ago in which I shared a poll saying the probable debate viewership would be between 64.3 and 106 7 million. I expressed my doubts that there would be that many viewers (even the lower figure of 64.3 million). I wasn't just wrong -- I was spectacularly wrong!

The initial Nielsen rating numbers show that over the 13 networks they count, there were about 84 million viewers -- more than ever before for a presidential debate (the old record being 80.6 million in 1980). And that number doesn't include C-SPAN, online viewers (YouTube had around 2.5 million by itself), or those who watched in groups at parties, bars, restaurants, or work.

The chart above shows the viewers (in millions) on the major broadcast and cable networks.

Nielsen also reported that there was very little drop-off as the debate progressed. Almost all of the viewers that tuned in watched the entire debate. It seems that in spite of what the media has been telling us (that most voters are turned off by the choice being Clinton or Trump), there is a huge interest in this election. I hope that translates into a huge turnout on election day in November.

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