The First Presidential Debate Of 2016 Was The Most Watched In History

The showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump drew 84 million viewers.

Monday night’s presidential debate drew an estimated 84 million viewers, according to Nielsen preliminary data, making it the most watched debate in U.S. history.

The face-off between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was widely expected to shatter the previous record due to the public’s intense interest in this year’s unusual contest. The 1980 debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which drew over 80 million viewers, previously held the title for most viewed debate. (For perspective, the Super Bowl typically draws upwards of 100 million viewers each year.) 

Nielsen tracked the 13 channels that aired the 90-minute debate live.

The total number of viewers is likely much higher, since Nielsen doesn’t track online streaming ― as CNN notes, 2.5 million people watched via YouTube streams ― or group viewing at restaurants, bars or other venues. 

The firm also tracked 17.1 million Twitter interactions, from 2.7 million different users, involving the debate. 

Sixty-seven million people watched the first debate between President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.



Election 2016