Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s town hall on Thursday night got higher ratings than Donald Trump’s similar event, CNN Business reported. Biden’s event aired on only one broadcast network, while Trump’s aired on both broadcast and cable, across three channels.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Thursday night was to be the second of three presidential debates. However, after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, the event was reworked to take place virtually. The president refused to participate, and instead both men opted to do their own town hall-style events, taking questions from voters.
Both events aired at the same time; Biden’s on ABC, and Trump’s on NBC as well as its sister cable networks, CNBC and MSNBC.
On Friday, Nielsen released the results of its survey of viewers, and Joe Biden’s event came out on top. Specifically, when viewers who watched the event on their televisions were counted with those who watched it via streaming, Biden brought in an average of 14.1 million viewers, while Trump’s brought in 13.5 million.
Even more specifically, Trump averaged 10.9 million viewers on NBC, 1.8 million viewers on MSNBC, and about 720,000 on CNBC. All told, his gross viewership across three channels was lower than Biden’s on one.
CNN Business writer Brian Stelter noted that Nielsen ratings do not measure who watches TV on their phones or computers, and instead the numbers include some self-reporting from the networks. Nevertheless, he said, on Nielsen ratings alone, Biden is the clear winner.
It’s a sentiment shared by Biden’s campaign national press secretary, TJ Ducklo.
“Turns out more people last night were interested in watching a leader with a clear plan to get this pandemic under control and Americans back to work, than the same combative, chaotic liar whose incompetence got us into this mess — regardless of how many channels he was on,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the ratings loss is likely to be a blow to Trump’s team, for a couple of reasons.
First, as Stelter pointed out, Trump has long fixated on his TV ratings, even going back to his days as a reality-TV star, during which he would often exaggerate numbers. Similarly, he has repeatedly congratulated Fox News for their own ratings.
Prior to Thursday night, Trump’s team had referenced ratings again, as his senior campaign adviser Jason Miller said “we’re gonna have a much bigger audience than Joe.”
Second, the loss to Biden on TV could portend a loss to his political adversary on Election Day, as The Hill writer Tal Axelrod noted. Specifically, he pointed out that more eyes were watching Trump’s adversary at a time when the 45th president desperately needs a boost to his sinking poll numbers.