61.7 million people watched the second and final presidential debate Thursday between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Fox News led all networks on both cable and broadcast TV with 15.4 million of the viewers. Here were the top six networks:
- Fox News — 15.4 million
- ABC — 11.2 million
- NBC — 10.6 million
- CNN — 7.5 million
- MSNBC — 6.9 million
- CBS — 5.7 million
NBC’s isn’t going to be happy. Despite the built-in advantage of employing the moderator, Kristen Welker, NBC lost again to rival ABC. Even last week, NBC fell to ABC in head-to-head town halls with Trump and Biden, respectively.
The first presidential debate drew 73 million viewers, down from 2016’s record-breaking 84 million.
73 million was a surprise to some TV experts — probably Brian Stelter — but not me. In fact, my prediction 24 hours before spoiled the number for the country:
My debate viewership prediction: 73 million
Actual debate viewership: 73 million. https://t.co/gP5gtRIS8K
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) September 30, 2020
I had to apologize for not putting the proper “Spoiler Alert” warning on my prediction. I almost had to do the same last night:
This morning, I predicted in @OutKick Slack that debate No. 2 would draw 63 million.
Preliminary data shows 55M. My prediction is well in play for the final number.
If so, send credit my way. Everyone. Even CNN viewers. https://t.co/Zoh1uapuoZ
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) October 23, 2020
Perhaps only this traumatic shot compares to my viewership prediction accuracy:
Now, back to the breakdown:
Thursday’s debate trailed the second and third debates of 2016, which garnered 66 million and 71.6 million respectively.
Trump-Biden was never going to top the Trump-Clinton phenomenon. In 2016, Americans themselves debated between the “lesser of two evils.” Some voters waited until they parked their cars to enter the voting booth to decide.
This year, 50 million Americans have already voted.
Trump was the clear winner last night, crushing Biden late in the rounds. But with so many votes already cast and with deficits across key battleground states, does it matter?
Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter @burackbobby_.