Fifth Republican Debate Gets More Than 18 Million Viewers
Another set of solid ratings for the latest debate.
Preliminary reports indicate that more than 18 million people watched last night’s fifth Republican debate:
More than 18 million people tuned in to CNN to watch the Republican candidates for president on Tuesday, the third-highest viewership in history for a nominating debate, according to Nielsen data provided by the cable network.
CNN also delivered the debate to the Web, mobile apps and connected TVs, registering at least 3.1 million live streams, according to the network. Usage peaked at 815,000 concurrent streams at 9:45 p.m.
Tuesday’s debate, moderated by Wolf Blitzer, was the second-most-watched program in CNN history, ranking behind an earlier Republican debate in September and signaling continued intense interest in the 2016 presidential election.
These numbers continue a pattern that started with the 24 million that watched the first Republican debate, the 22 million who watched the second GOP debate, the 15 million who watched the first Democratic debate, the 14 million who watched the third Republican debate on CNBC, and the 13.5 million who watched the fourth Republican Debate on Fox Business Network. The numbers are also vastly better than the 8.5 million who watched the Second Democratic Debate, which aired on a Saturday night in November opposite several college football games. While much of this, possibly, can be attributed to the presence of a celebrity like Donald Trump in the race, the fact that the Democratic debates are getting numbers that are, while lower than those for any of the Republican debates, quite respectable for political debates. Arguably, this could be evidence of the fact that the voting public is already quite interested in the 2016 race, even though the numbers have fallen off from what we saw in the early debates. In that respect, it will be interesting to see what the ratings are like for the next Democratic debate, which will be this coming Saturday in New Hampshire and will be broadcast on ABC.
Going forward, we have three more debates before voting starts with the Iowa Caucuses. Republicans will debate twice in January, on January 14th from South Carolina and broadcast on Fox Business Network, and then another debate on January 28th from New Hampshire and broadcast on Fox News Channel. Both of these debates will be on a Thursday. Democrats have one debate after Saturday, on January 17th, a Sunday, from South Carolina which will be broadcast on NBC. The time for the NBC debate has yet to be announced, but it could potentially conflict with the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, or at least partially conflict depending on how long the game(s) last. In any case, that will be the schedule before the Iowa Caucuses, and after that the Republicans presently have three debates scheduled for February in New Hampshire on the weekend prior to the New Hampshire Primary, in South Carolina before that state’s primary, and then in Texas in anticipation of the so-called “SEC Super Tuesday” primaries in early March. The status of that last debate is still somewhat up in the air since it was originally set to be aired on NBC but the Republican National Committee pulled that arrangement in the wake of October’s disastrous CNBC debate. The debate is still set to go forward, but it’s unclear whether the RNC and NBC will resolve their differences, or if another network will step in to air the debates. After that, we head into March and debates will become less common, but the so, presumably, will the number of candidates on both sides of the aisle.