- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

America was fixated by the presidential debate. Nielsen numbers released Tuesday revealed a record-breaking 84 million viewers tuned in to see nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face each other on stage for the first time on Monday night. Though the audience did not reach a predicted 100 million — “Super Bowl status,” according to analysts — the audience is huge compared to the first 2012 debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, which drew 67.2 million viewers.

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.

In the cable wars, Fox News Channel won the biggest audience, drawing 11.4 million viewers, marking the channel’s second highest-rated general election presidential debate in history. The telecast was up 9 percent in viewers compared to the first general election presidential debate in the 2012 cycle, which pitted President Obama against Republican Mitt Romney.

CNN drew 9.8 million viewers, MSNBC 4.9 million.

The Fox Business Network, meanwhile,  enjoyed its highest rated presidential debate coverage in the network’s nine year history, drawing 673,000 viewers and besting rival CNBC. The number marks a 196 percent increase in the Fox channel viewers, compared to the 2012 presidential debates.

CNBC had an average of 532,000 viewers for the night.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide