Home U.S Final presidential debate ratings down 11% from first face-off at 55million viewers

Final presidential debate ratings down 11% from first face-off at 55million viewers


The final debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden averaged 55 million viewers on Thursday – seven million less than the clash in September.

Preliminary Nielsen TV ratings showed Thursday night’s face-off in Nashville, Tennessee, averaged 55.2 million viewers across the six largest broadcast and cable channels in the U.S.

But compared to the first debate in Cleveland, Ohio, which averaged 62 million viewers on those networks, Thursday’s numbers were an 11 per cent drop.

When considering the 73.1million viewers across all networks, the difference is more than 20 per cent. 

The final presidential debate between President Trump (left) and Joe Biden (right) averaged 55 million viewers across the six largest cable and broadcast channels

The final presidential debate between President Trump (left) and Joe Biden (right) averaged 55 million viewers across the six largest cable and broadcast channels

The final numbers for Thursday’s debate will be released later Friday, but so far Fox News Channel pulled ahead with a strong lead.

Nielsen, per Deadline, said Fox News Channel saw 14.7 million viewers, ABC News recorded 10.7 million and NBC – home to moderator Kristen Welker – came in third with 10.2million.

CNN lagged behind by 3 million to record 7.2million viewers, while MSNBC garnered 6.7million. MSNBC came in last with 5.6 million Americans tuning in.

FOX network broke away from its constituents to air the ‘Thursday Night Football’ game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. 

Pictured: President Donald Trump (right) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (left) participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee

Pictured: President Donald Trump (right) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (left) participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee

Typically, the first presidential debates are the most popular. The first between President Trump and then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton accumulated 84million. 

The first showdown between former president Barack Obama and Mitt Romney equaled out to 67.2 million viewers.

But as Americans continue to struggle through the coronavirus pandemic and with the memory of the first disastrous debate still fresh, it’s possible Americans tuned out for the evening as Election Day looms. 

And a large swath of Americans have already placed their votes for the future of the Oval Office. 

More than 42 million citizens have already cast their ballot with just 11 days left.

Biden is currently the frontrunner, according to Real Clear Politics poll index, in key states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin.   

Last night, Biden and Trump exchanged verbal blows on the Nashville debate stage over Hunter Biden’s emails, with the Democratic nominee telling the audience he’s ‘never’ taken a cent from a foreign power.

It was surprisingly Biden who brought up Rudy Giuliani first, asserting that he’s being used as a Russian ‘pawn.’

‘We are in a situation where we have foreign countries trying to interfere in the outcome of our election,’ Biden charged. ‘His own national security adviser told him that what’s happening with this buddy – I shouldn’t, I will – his buddy Rudy Giuliani, he is being used a a Russian pawn.’

Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has been the central character in the public release of emails and photos purportedly from Biden’s son Hunter’s laptop.

Biden brought up the former New York City mayor as he lashed out at Trump for not calling out Russia and other foreign powers for election meddling.

In turn, Trump claimed Biden had enriched himself with foreign dollars alongside his son.

‘I don’t make money from China, you do. I don’t make money from Ukraine, you do. I don’t make money from Russia, you do,’ Trump said.

The president alluded to Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner to Hunter Biden that Trump brought to the debate as his guest. But it was only a passing mention given the drama Trump’s campaign had orchestrated just hours before the clash on stage.

The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden kicked off in Nashville Thursday at Belmont University's Curb Event Center arena with 200 people in the audience

The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden kicked off in Nashville Thursday at Belmont University’s Curb Event Center arena with 200 people in the audience 

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

Prior to the debate, Bobulinski addressed White House reporters and claimed he had proof that the former vice president was aware of his son’s business dealings with China.

‘All of the email, the emails, the horrible emails of the kind of money you were raking in,’ Trump said. ‘And Joe, you were vice president when some of this was happening.’

‘And I think you owe an explanation to the American people, why is it – somebody just had a news conference a little while ago – who was essentially supposed to work with you and your family, but what he said was damning,’ Trump continued.

‘And regardless of me I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people. Maybe you can do it right now,’ the president added.

Biden pointed to New York Times reports that said Trump had a secret Chinese bank account – and he’s barely paid any taxes.

‘We learned that this president paid 50 times the tax in China, has a secret bank account with China, does business in China,’ Biden said. ‘Release your tax returns or stop talking about corruption.’

This debate is different from the last, as the candidates' microphones are muted and therefore can't interrupt each other

This debate is different from the last, as the candidates’ microphones are muted and therefore can’t interrupt each other

Trump also revealed that he had called his accountants to see how much in federal taxes he had paid, brushing off the reported amount of $750 as a ‘filing fee.’

‘I prepaid my tax,’ Trump claimed, saying he had paid ‘tens of millions of dollars.’

‘I prepaid because at some point they think … I may have to pay tax, so I already prepaid it,’ he added.

The president also pledged, ‘I’m going to release them as soon as I can.’

Biden thought that was laughable.

‘He’s been saying this for four years. Show us. Just show us. Stop playing around,’ Biden said. ‘You’ve been saying for four years are going to release your taxes.’

The storm of charges and counter-charges would have been enough to confound casual viewers who were not up on the latest revelations about either candidate’s finances or family members. 

After helping precipitate the clash by bringing up Giuliani, Biden sought to use it to further his campaign message.

‘You know who I am. You know who he is. You know his character. And you know my character,’ he said.

‘The character of the country is on the ballot. Our character is on the ballot look at us closely.’

It was a theme he revisited in his closing debate remarks. ‘What is on the ballot here is the character of this country. Decency, honor respect, treating people with dignity. Making sure that everyone has an even chance.’

President Donald Trump talks with reporters on Air Force One after participating in the final presidential debate

President Donald Trump talks with reporters on Air Force One after participating in the final presidential debate

Trump also found a way to tie Biden’s complaints to his own primary grievance: the Russia probe. After Biden tried to tie the apparent information dumps about his son to Russian election interference, the president scoffed.

‘You mean the laptop is now the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?’ Trump asked, incredulously.

‘The laptop is Russia, Russia, Russia? You got to be kidding. Here we go with Russia,’ he said – taking the issue that most endangered his presidency and brought on the multi-year Mueller probe and turning it on his rival.

Trump found ways to get in many of his favorite digs as the exchange went on and on. He called Hunter’s laptop the ‘laptop from hell.’ He also found ways to put Biden on his heels by asking when he pitched various plans: ‘Why didn’t you do it in the eight years’ serving with Obama. Biden could only summon a brief answer that only hinted at the GOP opposition he once had to contend with in the House. ‘We had a Republican Congress. That’s the answer,’ he said, without expanding. 

Even with the personal animosity and charges of corruption, the debate lacked much of the fire of the first encounter in Cleveland, in part due to the technological change with the microphones, and possibly due to deliberate decisions by the candidates to hold some of their impulses in check.

But a comparatively calm debate that some analysts were already calling a draw denied Trump the opportunity to reset the race.

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