Nolte: Ratings Show Biden Only Drew 15% More Debate Viewers than Warren

Democratic presidential hopeful former US Vice President Joseph R. Biden speaks during the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit …
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Even with Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Mean Little Mayor Pete backing him up, Joe Biden was only able to draw 15 percent more debate viewers than Elizabeth Warren drew for her debate.

Nevertheless, the numbers are still way below President Trump’s first debate in 2016 and barely ahead of Hillary Clinton’s first debate in 2016.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Preliminary ratings for the second wave of presidential candidates on NBC are up 15 percent over Wednesday’s telecast.”

The first half of the Democrat Demolition Derby aired on Wednesday night and drew 15.26 million viewers on three different networks: NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo.

Despite broadcasting on three channels, Wednesday night’s debate still failed to top the 15.45 million viewers who tuned in for Hillary and Bernie’s first debate in October 2015, and that debate was broadcast only on one channel, the far-left, fake news outlet CNN.

This 15 percent bump, if that holds, will put Thursday night’s debate audience closer to 17 million, which is still way, way, way below the 24 million who tuned in to see Trump’s first debate in August 2015. That GOP debate also broadcast on only one network, the Fox News Channel.

It is striking, though, that Thursday’s night’s debate only drew 15 percent more viewers when you look at the difference in star power.

The only frontrunner to appear in Wednesday’s debate was Warren. Thursday’s debate not only featured the top man, former Vice President Joe Biden, but the rest of the first and second tier: Buttigieg, Sanders, and Harris.

While Thursday’s numbers are higher than the 2008 and 2012 primary debates, that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Much has changed in eight years, especially the way in which the cable news networks drive these debates as major, must-see sporting events, complete with pre-game hype, countdown clocks, and post-game analysis.

Basically, the Trump Factor has lifted D.C. politics into a whole other orbit.

As I wrote Wednesday, timing might be part of the problem. This political primary launched earlier than most, well before the summer began, and asking people to tune in when summer is only a week old is a bit much.

On the other hand, these numbers might also show that the passion and fire among Democrat voters to find a Trump Killer is nowhere near as white-hot as GOP’s desire in 2016 to win back the White House, even if it meant handing it over to a Manhattan real estate billionaire and reality TV star.

There are 20 people running to be the Democrat nominee, but there is no superstar, no Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, not even a Hillary Clinton.

When Joe Biden is the best you got, you probably shouldn’t expect a whole lot of excitement … or viewers. 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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