CNN’s airing of the second presidential primary debate for Democrats was apparently a huge yawn-fest for Americans.
The struggling network saw a more than 40 percent decline in viewership for the first night’s event as compared to the first round of debates which aired in June, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Tuesday’s debate, featuring 10 Democratic candidates including frontrunners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, drew in 8.69 million viewers. That figure, which included CNN en Español viewers, was a steep 43 percent drop from the first airing of the opening debate.
The first round of Democratic debates on June 26 drew 15.26 million viewers on three networks the first night. The 18.1 million who tuned in to the second night back in June set a Democratic primary debate record, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As the HR noted, the comparison isn’t exactly comparing “apples to apples,” but the sizable drop, nearly half, should be concerning for Democrat candidates looking for an audience.
The first Democratic debate of the 2016 election cycle – which only featured five candidates – drew in CNN’s largest audience with 15.46 million tuning in that October in 2015. By contrast, in August 2015 the first Republican debate of the 2016 cycle drew 24 million viewers, a record for primary debates for Democrats and Republicans.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
The decline for Tuesday’s debate compared to the June 26-27 telecasts mirror that of the second Democratic primary face-off in 2015. After CNN drew 15.46 million people in October 2015, the next forum for Democratic hopefuls on CBS a month later fell to 8.5 million viewers.
The two-hour telecast (excluding 25 minutes of candidate introductions and a review of the rules) also drew 2.53 million viewers in the key news demographic of adults 25-54. It’s the second most-watched Democratic primary debate in CNN’s history, behind the October 2015 telecast.
CNN reported an average of 516,000 viewers, tuning in for an average of 75 minutes, across its digital platforms for the live stream of this week’s debate.
President Trump, who actively tweeted during the first round of Democratic debates in June, was noticeably quieter this time around, reacting to Tuesday’s lineup by noting the candidates “will lead us into an economic sinkhole.”
If I hadn’t won the 2016 Election, we would be in a Great Recession/Depression right now. The people I saw on stage last night, & you can add in Sleepy Joe, Harris, & the rest, will lead us into an economic sinkhole the likes of which we have never seen before. With me, only up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2019
The president remarked on CNN’s lower ratings after Wednesday’s debate.
Very low ratings for the Democratic Debate last night — they’re desperate for Trump!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2019
He also commented that the Democratic lineup was not going to “either Make America Great Again or Keep America Great!”
The people on the stage tonight, and last, were not those that will either Make America Great Again or Keep America Great! Our Country now is breaking records in almost every category, from Stock Market to Military to Unemployment. We have prosperity & success like never before..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019
In a separate attack directed more at CNN, Trump slammed Don Lemon as “the dumbest man on television” after his controversial debate question on the president being a bigot.
Not only did viewers tune out for Tuesday’s showcase of progressive Democratic platforms, such as the elimination of private health insurance, open borders and other leftist ideas, but the soundbites from even the moderate candidates provided plenty of material for future Republican campaign ads.
The debate and especially the sheer number of candidates on the stage gave late night television a treasure trove of material – and little of it focused on Trump for a change.
“There were more characters than on the show This Is Us in this debate,” Jimmy Kimmel said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“Have 30 years of reality TV taught the Democrats nothing? You can’t go from 20 candidates right to one. First you have to put them on an island and separate them into tribes,” he joked.
(Video: YouTube/Jimmy Kimmel Live)
On author and activist Marianne Williamson, Kimmel remarked she was “like if the trailer for the movie Cats became a person.” He also joked that Sen. Bernie Sanders “always looks like he’s hitting every button in the elevator at once.”
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