Those combined events garnered far fewer total views than the second presidential debate in 2016, with each event getting around 14 million viewers (with Biden’s viewership slightly higher than Trump’s).
But as events hosted by networks rather than the Commission on Presidential Debates, they were broadcast on fewer channels. Trump’s town hall was shown on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, while Biden’s was shown on ABC. Thursday’s debate was shown on all the major cable and network news channels.
Nielsen’s figures includes traditional TV as well as streaming on mobile devices and computers — which can comprise up to 11 percent of viewers.
Thursday’s presidential debate was a stark contrast to the bombast of the candidates’ first showdown last month. The candidates had their microphones muted during portions of the event to prevent interruptions, and Trump and Biden largely avoided the cross-talk that marred their prior debate.
The majority of viewers felt that Biden won the debate, with 54 percent saying as such in a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll released Friday. Some 39 percent said Trump won. Respondents were also far more receptive to Thursday’s debate than last month’s, with nearly 70 percent saying they enjoyed watching the final event.
About 47 million votes had already been cast by the end of the day Thursday, according to the U.S. Election Project.
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