CNN Debate Draws 8.3 Million Viewers, Down From First Clash of the 2020 Democrats

The ratings are in: CNN and the New York Times’ Democratic presidential primary debate on Tuesday night drew 8.33 million viewers and 2.37 million in the 25-54 demo — numbers that were lower than CNN’s first two-night debate in July.

The primary debate drew modest response on social media — and some tomatoes from critics — over the three hour length and one particular question about Ellen DeGeneres. Challengers going after frontrunners Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden were the most talked about moments from the debate, but the prevailing wisdom was that 12 candidates on stage was just too much.

The marathon debate was moderated by CNN’s Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper, as well as New York Times national editor Marc Lacey.

While the 8 million viewers was a dip from July — where the network brought in 9.2 million viewers on night one and 11.3 million on night two — CNN can take pride in the 9.2 million live streams to the live event.

For context, Fox News’ GOP primary debate in August 2015 still ranks as the highest-rated debate in television history with a whopping total of 24 million viewers and 7.9 million in the demo.

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