The preliminary ratings are in for CNN’s first Democratic debate on Tuesday night.
According to early Nielsen ratings, CNN brought in 8.69 million viewers with 2.52 million in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demographic.
Combined with the whopping 2.8 million viewers the event drew from online streaming, Tuesday night’s Democratic debate is the network’s second-highest rated Democratic debate on record.
The numbers are an impressive draw for CNN since the debates are being split into two nights, plus 2020 frontrunner and former vice-president Joe Biden has yet to take the stage. Still, the current figures pale in comparison to the network’s previous numbers.
CNN’s Democratic debate back in October 2015 drew 15 million in total viewers and 4.7 million in the demo. CNN’s Republican debate in September 2015 — their most viewed debate — nabbed around 23 million viewers and 7 million in the demo.
CNN’s debates this week are the second of the 2020 election cycle. The first Democratic debate was hosted by MSNBC, NBC, and Telemundo, and drew 15.3 million viewers with 4.3 million in the demo. Night two soared past that, drawing more than 18 million viewers.
A CNN rival still holds the record for primary debate viewership. Fox News’ August 2015 Republican primary debate remains the highest-rated primary debate in television history at 24 million viewers with 7.9 million in the 25-54 demo.
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