Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden drew more viewers for his convention than President Trump got for his, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
According to Nielsen, 21.7 million viewers watched Mr. Biden’s speech while 19.9 watched Mr. Trump’s.
Viewership numbers can indicate which party has a higher level of enthusiasm heading into November, especially given the lack of typical campaign events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That would appear to give the edge to Mr. Biden, who has been leading in the polls but also has seen Mr. Trump begin to close the gap in some surveys.
Pollster Robert Cahaly said that despite the TV ratings, the surveys he is seeing show anti-Trump intensity is about equal to the level of support for the president.
“The silent Trump voters are afraid to say anything at the office. They are afraid of posting anything on social media. They are really afraid to talk about it. The only way they can cope is they got to vote,” said Mr. Cahaly, chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group, a political and corporate research firm.
“It doesn’t matter what the national media says,” he said. “They are going to vote.”
The only night where the GOP had more television viewers than the Democrats was on Tuesday when First Lady Melania Trump delivered her speech, touting her husband’s record over the past four years.
“Crowd size is a mark of intensity,” said Chris Haynes, a political science professor at the University of New Haven. “I guess, especially in the COVID era, when you’re broadcasting this in such a way that is so different […] to be drawn to this, you really have to want to see the candidate.”
The Republican Party has pushed back against the TV numbers, saying it doesn’t factor in online views — and if it did, the president’s convention blew the Democrats’ away.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Twitter that the GOP convention had 147.9 million views on both digital and TV, which she said was 25 million more than the Democratic convention.
“The Fake News doesn’t want to report these numbers,” the president tweeted Saturday, sharing Ms. McDaniel’s tweet.
It’s more important to look at the results of a convention, not the ratings, said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, told The Washington Times.
“Biden did not get a bounce,” he said, of the polling after the Democratic National Convention.
Mr. Madonna noted that historically incumbents who lose the White House — like President George H.W. Bush and President Jimmy Carter — don’t have a bounce in the polls following their conventions.
“For Trump, a lot of political analysts that I read said a bounce out of the convention is essential,” he said.