Everyone onstage was looking to take a swipe at Joe Biden, there were hecklers in the crowd and technical difficulties throughout the night, but CNN still came out pretty good from last night’s Democratic debate 2.0 in Detroit.
Facing the just-renewed Love Island on CBS on Wednesday, the cable newser snared 10.7 million viewers for the second night of the second round of debates featuring contenders hoping to be the 46th President of the United States. When you add in CNN en Español, that total rises to 10.8 million, according to Nielsen.
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Clocking in at close to three hours and moderated like the night before by Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Don Lemon, the debate featuring Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker and seven other fellow Democrats not unexpectedly was up from the meager results of the night before. In total sets of eyeballs, Wednesday rose 24% compared with the Elizabeth Warren- and Bernie Sanders-dominated first-night debate Tuesday.
Now, in a oranges to octagons comparison, last night’s CNN-hosted debate took a 41% drop from the June 27 second night of the first Democratic debates simulcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Like last night, that debate on the Comcast-owned outlets also centered on Biden, with Harris knocking the former Veep against the ropes repeatedly.
Drilling into the math, the rise from the first debate of this week to last night is 6% greater than the uptick from the first of the two Democratic debates on June 26 to the second June 27.
In terms of the adults 25-54 news demographic, last night’s debate had 3.031 million viewers, a bounce of 21% over Tuesday. That’s also a slide of 42% from what the second night of the first Dems debates pulled in the demo.
Having almost nowhere to go but up after Tuesday’s numbers, last night’s debate is now the second most watched for the party on the Jeff Zucker-run station. The 3.1 million live starts that CNN had on its various streaming platforms Wednesday is also the second best to date. (Both in linear viewing and streaming, the most watched Democratic debate on CNN was the October 2015 face-off dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sanders, which drew just more than 15 million viewers.
Still, that debate and last night’s event linger far behind the top debate dog, Fox News Channel’s August 6, 2015 GOP battle. A Donald Trump production in so many ways, that gathering retains the crown for the top-rated non-sports cable telecast of all time in total viewers with 24 million tuning in.
With the Democratic field likely to be sliced to a core group of Biden, Harris, Warren, Sanders and Booker, that reign could be threatened by the next debate, which is set for September in Houston hosted by ABC and Univision.