- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2016

The long-awaited confrontation between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday night at the first officially sanctioned presidential debate could prove to be a doozy. Some media experts are already predicting the size of the audience who will tune in for the clash of the political titans.

TV Newser columnist Chris Ariens cites a recent Morning Consult poll which found that 73 percent of Americans said they would watch the debate.

“If we extrapolate that, if 73 percent of 146,311,000 registered voters watch the debate, that means more than 106 million will be tuning in,” writes Mr. Ariens

“That’s approaching Super Bowl status. This year’s Super Bowl was watched by 112 million. While 106 million will be a stretch, network insiders we’ve talked to think the number will easily top 80 million.”

The first 2012 debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama drew 67.2 million viewers, and was the second most watched debate. And the biggest audience draw up until now? That was the initial debate between then President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, which pulled in 81 million in 1980, long before the advent of cable news and social media.


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