Democrats should probably be revisiting their decision to bar Fox News Channel from carrying any of their presidential debates after the network torched five hours of town halls in the ratings.
CNN’s presidential candidate town hall special on Monday night was left in the dust by Fox News – and even MSNBC – where the regular lineup of programming pulled in a million more viewers than the five-hour Democrat lineup, according to early Nielsen Media Research.
CNN averaged 1,201,000 viewers for each of the town halls Monday which featured Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
In the key age demographic of 25-54, the network garnered an average of 371,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. But even at MSNBC, programming which included Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Brian Williams attracted more viewers, with an average of 1,810,000 tuning in to the network’s normal lineup.
Over at Fox News, the numbers were significantly larger, with a million more viewers tuning in to watch shows hosted by Martha MacCallum, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Shannon Bream. The network averaged 2,262,000 viewers with 380,000 in the 25-54 demographic.
Despite having the highest rated CNN town hall back in January, Harris pulled in half-a-million fewer viewers Monday with her town hall, as about 1,440,000 tuned in to hear the California Democrat.
Buttigeig had only 1.18 million viewers, though that was more than twice the number he had attracted during his previous CNN town hall. The South Bend Mayor sparked an exchange with Vice President Mike Pence this month when he claimed that the former Indiana governor had a “problem” with him because he is gay.
Buttigeig is set to participate in a live town hall on Fox News Channel next month, despite the decision by the Democratic National Committee to not allow the network to host a presidential debate.
Warren did not fare much better on Monday with a viewership of 1,180,000 people, barely more than her previous CNN town hall. Warren’s run this time was up against “Tucker Carlson Tonight” which pulled in 1.7 million more viewers.
The time slot featuring Sanders managed to bring in 1,336,000 viewers to CNN, nearly the same as the Vermont senator’s last town hall with the network. Fox News’ Sean Hannity pulled in 1.5 million more viewers than the CNN event on Monday, however. And Sanders’ town hall last week on Fox News, moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, pulled in about 2.5 million viewers, breaking a record for the largest presidential town hall this election cycle.
We’re not allowed to ask indignant Sanders about dropping immigrants in sanctuary cities: ‘That’s not a real question’ https://t.co/T7Ib7tKBu5
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CNN’s 7 p.m. town hall with Klobuchar, in which she had to ask the audience to clap at one point, garnered 869,000 viewers, less than her previous town hall on the network back in February which had 1.15 million viewers. Other networks’ programming beat the Minnesota senator’s event Monday by over half-a-million viewers, The Daily Caller reported.
Klobuchar will also be heading over on May 8 for a town hall on Fox News Channel, which had 2 million viewers tune in for its event earlier this month with former Starbucks chief Howard Schultz, who has not even officially announced he is running for president.
The glaring dominance of Fox News’ normal lineup in the ratings ought to be sobering for Democrats making a stand against the network. The decision is not working out for them so far and raises the question of whether they are equipped to ever lead at all.
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