Tenth GOP Debate Garners Estimated 14.5 Million Viewers

Tenth Republican Debate Rubio Trump Cruz

Last night’s Republican debate in Texas received the highest viewership since the start of 2016:

The final Republican primary gathering before Super Tuesday produced plenty of insults and fireworks on stage Thursday night — and the largest audience for any debate in more than two months.

In Nielsen’s preliminary national estimates, the GOP debate averaged 14.521 million viewers combined on CNN (13.256 million) and Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo (1.265). This tops every debate since CNN’s last Republican debate on Dec. 15 drew 18.165 million. Last summer’s first two GOP debates, driven by curiosity about Donald Trump, remain the most-watched to date, drawing 24 million on Fox News Channel and a little over 23 million on CNN.

On the Democratic side, the most recent debate on Feb. 11 averaged a combined 8.03 million viewers on CNN and PBS.

In the key news demo of adults 25-54, Thursday’s debate drew a strong 4.684 million on CNN (4.058 million) and Telemundo (626,000). This is well above the roughly 3.4 million-3.5 million in the demo for the prior three GOP debates and is also the highest since Dec. 15 (5.65 million on CNN).

CNN again scored well in Web engagement and streaming viewership for the debate. The day saw 10 million video starts and 2.1 million total live streams (Web, app, Apple TV and Roku). Streaming engagement peaked at 10:05 p.m. ET with 708,000 concurrent streams.

The fact that these debates continue to draw large numbers of viewers suggests that voter interest in the campaign remains quite high even if it isn’t quite as high as it was when people tuned in for the early debates that garnered in excess of 20 million viewers. There has also been evidence of this voter enthusiasm in voter turnout numbers for both Republican and Democratic contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and New Hampshire. The speculation so far, of course, is that much of the interest is being created by the candidacy of Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. Whether it continues as the race goes on is, of course, another question but, so far at least, the American people seem to be far more engaged in this election than they were in 2012, and I suppose that in the end that’s a good thing.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Economics and Business, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. bloated sack of protoplasm says:

    Donald Trump wants to ‘open up’ libel laws so he can sue press

    “One of the things I’m going to do if I win… I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said during a rally in Fort Worth, Texas.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/26/media/donald-trump-libel-laws/index.html?section=money_latest
    According to this CNN/Money item:
    No federal libel law currently exists, because libel suits are handled in state courts.
    Apparently Typhoid Trump will have to get the laws passed through Congress before he can “open them up”. Whatever that means.

  2. Kari Q says:

    An awful lot of people tuned in to the debate for the WWE smackdown side of it. If Hillary and Bernie want better ratings, they better step up the shouting and personal attacks. Of course, they may be running for president instead of focusing on ratings.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    @Kari Q:

    An awful lot of people tuned in to the debate for the WWE smackdown side of it. If Hillary and Bernie want better ratings, they better step up the shouting and personal attacks. Of course, they may be running for president instead of focusing on ratings.

    I alternated between watching NBA basketball and the GOP fest. I’m a Democrat but I have to admit, this 2016 GOP campaign season can hardly be beat for entertainment value. For me, it has a kind of NASCAR race appeal – tune in for the spin-outs into the walls or the infield area.

  4. Tony W says:

    The clear winner of the Republican debate last night was Hillary Clinton. What an idiotic display.