About 21.6 million viewers watched coverage of Trump’s RNC address on nine cable and broadcast networks, compared to 23.6 million viewers who watched Biden’s DNC address on the same nine networks.
Totals may fluctuate slightly when final numbers are released later today, but Biden has clearly edged ahead of Trump.
The Democratic convention was also rated higher than the Republican convention as a whole when the four-day audience is counted.
Biden’s campaign celebrated the odds victory overnight – and embraced it as a potential way to get under Trump’s skin.
The obsession with the President’s ratings is well documented. He tweeted hundreds of times about the reviews, often inaccurately. He brought up the topic as recently as Friday morning, when he tweeted, “Great grades and reviews last night. Thank you! ”
He did not share an immediate reaction when the first audience figures showed him behind Biden.
If the story is a guide, it may tout Fox News Channel ratings instead of overall results. Fox News had by far the largest audience of any channel on Thursday night, with over 9 million viewers.
Fox News announced in a press release that it had “the highest prime-time average among viewers at any convention in cable news history.”
Nielsen’s datasets count the number of traditional viewers across America, but largely leave out streaming and other forms of digital engagement, so the picture is incomplete.
And it’s impossible to know how many people watched only Trump, just Biden, or both speeches.
Ratings are therefore not a proxy for voter behavior – but they are notable for other reasons.
The average audience for the two 2020 conventions plummeted from 2016, when Trump accepted the GOP nomination and Hillary Clinton ran against him.
That year, Clinton’s speech averaged 29.8 million viewers, and Trump’s speech averaged 32.2 million viewers. (The 2016 totals cannot be compared exactly to the day-to-day odds for that year, but they are directionally accurate.)
Biden’s campaign capitalized on Friday hearings victory: TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign, tweeted to Biden’s director of rapid response Andrew Bates and asked, tongue very firmly in his cheek , “I always forget, @realDonaldTrump does care about his TV ratings. “Or isn’t that something he cares about?” For example, do you think it will trigger him that @ JoeBiden’s speech got much higher ratings than his? ”
Bates replied even more sarcastically: “You mean the self-proclaimed ‘Rating Machine DJT,’ who bet the farm on it and broke the law to exploit the White House as a prop * while * claiming he didn’t. is not responsible for the pandemic spinning out of control and violence and division erupt? No, I think he will be totally optimistic. ”
Later in the afternoon, Ducklo commented again, “It turns out Americans are not really in the grim, dystopian view of the country that Donald Trump presides over as president. ”
The audience for the Republican and Democratic conventions was rather weak on the broadcast side. Americans have instead flocked to cable news networks. CNN noted in a press release Friday that, for the eight nights combined, CNN “surpassed all broadcast networks – NBC, ABC and CBS – in total viewership and demos,” meaning the different installments of age that advertisers are targeting.
The overall audience is older, as political coverage typically does.
Fox News ratings were relatively low during the Democratic convention and incredibly strong during the GOP convention. Almost half of people who watched Trump’s speech Thursday night on television were watching on Fox.