Well Mrs. Lincoln, How Did You Enjoy the Debate?

2016 January 29
by bc3b

How was debate viewership and how much did Donald Trump’s absence affect viewership? Preliminary numbers show viewership at about 13 million. That would put in in the range of recent GOP debates on Fox Business Network and CNBC, but far below the number of viewers who watched previous debates on FNC and CNN, which have much larger viewership and are carried by more cable networks:

Here’s all the debates, ranked by viewership:

08/06/2015 — GOP Debate #1 FOXNC — 24,000,000

09/16/2015 — GOP Debate #2 CNN — 23,000,000

12/15/2015 — GOP Debate #5 CNN — 18,165,000

10/13/2015 — DNC Debate #1 CNN — 15,800,000

10/28/2015 — GOP Debate #3 CNBC — 14,005,000

11/10/2015 — GOP Debate #4 FBN — 13,454,000

1/28/2016 – GOP Debate # 7 FNC   – 12,000,000 (Variety estimate)

01/15/2016 — GOP Debate #6 FBN  — 11,094,000

11/14/2015 — DNC Debate #2 CBS — 8,552,000

12/19/2015 — DNC Debate #3 ABC — 8,030,000

The question is – half full or half empty? While the viewership appears to by in the range of the Fox Business Network and CNBC debates, it is far below that of previous FNC and CNN viewership. How much of this is due to Trump’s absence and how much is due to debate fatigue? We will be updating this as the ratings are published for the debate and the Trump Rally.

This is meant to be a discussion thread on last night’s debate and the Trump rally. What was your take? Were there any winners and losers? Was the Trump rally a wise move? What did you think of the moderators? Did they ask substantive questions? Were they biased? How do you feel about the “Google personalities?”

Inquiring minds want to know.

Debate viewership numbers courtesy of USA Today

52 Responses leave one →
  1. 2016 January 29 8:47 am
    drdog09 permalink

    What I found interesting is that The Donald did not launch into anything till the debate was nearly over. A viewer could have watched a good portion of the debate then flipped over to WW bash an not missed much.

  2. 2016 January 29 8:54 am
    The Ghost of Reason permalink

    There was a debate last night….?

  3. 2016 January 29 8:57 am
    bc3b permalink

    According to Time, Trump received a quarter of the ratings that Trump did on CNN and MSNBC, but they are not taking CSPAN into account, I started out watching rump on CNN but quickly changed to CSPAN to avoid commercials and leftist commentary.

    Assuming 4,000,000 watched Trump and would have watched the debate had be been in it, it would have raised the FNC viewership to about 17,000,000.

  4. 2016 January 29 9:14 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Here’s your signs…. — http://bejohngalt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Capture.png — … of collapse.

  5. 2016 January 29 9:21 am
    drdog09 permalink

    By the way I find it interesting the lower number of viewers for the Dim debates. With fewer of them you would expect their numbers to be higher. All that pent up demand ya know, cough, cough…

  6. 2016 January 29 9:51 am
    bc3b permalink

    drdog09 #5 –

    Many believe the DNC purposely scheduled its debates at times (like Saturday night) when viewership would be low to protect Hillary Clinton.

  7. 2016 January 29 10:12 am
    justrand permalink

    Winners last night (in my humble opinion order):
    1 – Donald Trump…didn’t get a glove laid on him, dodged the “YouTube ambush”
    2 – Marco Rubio…looked “Presidential”, and weathered the “YouTube ambush”
    3 – Rand Paul…sounded less like an isolationist, and had a few good lines
    4 – Chris Christie…entertaining

    Losers (biggest Loser first)
    1 – John Kasich…sweet Jesus, will he just QUIT???
    2 – the entire undercard crew
    3 – Jeb Bush…even with Trump not there he couldn’t manage to inject any enthusiasm, though he did have some well rehearsed lines
    4 – Ben Carson…what a splendid man, nice guy, brilliant surgeon, etc. But he should just gracefully withdraw
    5 – Ted Cruz…his weakest performance, and he did NOT weather the “YouTube ambush”, AND he had the furthest to fall

  8. 2016 January 29 10:19 am
    fight on permalink

    I watched the previous debates but passed on this one after I heard who the google questioners were.

    Interesting note:

    Meygan Kelly long hair 24 million viewers

    Meygan Kelly short butch dike cut hair 13 million viewers

  9. 2016 January 29 10:35 am
    bc3b permalink

    With those fake eye lashes Megyn could have blinked quickly five times and become and become airborne.

  10. 2016 January 29 10:35 am

    maybe she’s contemplating a bruce jenner move.

  11. 2016 January 29 10:39 am
    bc3b permalink

    JR –

    #7 regarding the Iowa caucus, for Trump it was like having a bye in the football playoffs (advancing while your opponents tear one another apart).

    From what I understand Cruz was a great high school and college debater and is hell on two feet in the courtroom, but debating to win points is far different from debating to win minds and hearts.

  12. 2016 January 29 10:40 am
    bc3b permalink

    ip727 –

    maybe she’s contemplating a bruce jenner move.

    Perhaps Bruce can give Megyn the parts he is no longer using.

  13. 2016 January 29 10:49 am

    Add- a- dickectomy is quite expensive.

  14. 2016 January 29 11:01 am
    justrand permalink

    bc3b: “for Trump it was like having a bye in the football playoffs (advancing while your opponents tear one another apart).”

    Perfect analogy!

  15. 2016 January 29 11:30 am

    I didn’t watch live, or any replays. There is a another debate next week, and the week after, and 10 days after that… too many debates. I watched the Trump thing via online streaming on rsbn.tv and toward the end cspan cause first feed was getting choppy. I thought it was pretty good for something thrown together in about 36hr. It was a rally\fundraiser so it was a bit of an unusual mix of things, Mike and Rick were wise to attend and stayed on-topic, Trump thankfully avoided some of the harsher attack portions of his stump shtick which was wise giving the theme and context of the night. Some of the politics certainly seeped though, which I guess was to be expected with caucuses 3 days away and the fact it was after all a campaign rally, but there was a line or two that I thought would have been better if left out in the context of the night – but Trump gonna be Trump.

    re:#1 – He came on stage about 25-30min after 8 local, 9 eastern, so not sure what you mean, is my recollection wrong, didn’t the debate start at 9 eastern?

    fnc – So their numbers were way down, but not down to the totally embarrassing level, part of that was the Trump effect, part of that was FNC BS effect, part of that has got to be debate fatigue – I wasn’t planning on watching before the whole dust up with Trump.

    What did you learn last night that you didn’t know? Did you hear anything that wasn’t rehearsed to all hell or wasn’t part of a stump speech? I’d say at this point the debates are kind of pointless from the primary standpoint, they’re really just opportunities for press to attempt kill shots at R candidates, some of that ok and useful (testing), but it seems that’s what the majority of the debates seem to be turning into regardless of those hosting the debate, or am I wrong?

  16. 2016 January 29 11:32 am

    14 – I tend to agree with that thought that the net result was a bye for Trump.

  17. 2016 January 29 11:42 am
    bc3b permalink

    KH #15

    Agree 100%.

    I think the GOP policy of a debate practically every other week is suicidal. It creates more animosity between candidates, bores the general public and increases the odds that every candidate will say something that can be used against himself/herself or against another candidate by the Dems in the general election.

    The reason there were so many debates in the1800s is because the debate was only heard by the attendees. In the era of mass communications it’s foolhardy to have so many debates.

  18. 2016 January 29 11:47 am
    bc3b permalink

    The British press on Megyn Kelly’s eye lashes:


    Kelly invites criticism. Between her layout in GQ (whose readers would be far more interested in a provocative layout featuring JJ Watt), discussing the size of her husband’s penis with Howard Stern and her physical appearance at the debates. Dana Bash, who resembles Secretariat, is far less attractive but looks more professional.

  19. 2016 January 29 11:48 am

    Bc3b – I agree, I like idea of lots of debates but not if they’re gonna be what they basically have been for the most part thus far, and for that matter what they have been in the last couple cycles, think you’re right that this present schedule one basically one a week though Super Tuesday is suicidal.

    Shut up issa, tell me when they actually have put the referral forward, how about you investigate the stalling at State by the way.

    Oh how convenient – what a joke:

  20. 2016 January 29 11:58 am

    Some stats from RSBN via tweet from them.

    RSBN ‏@RSBNetwork • 2h ago
    @DanScavino @realDonaldTrump: 400,000 people have watched the event
    so far on RSBN.

  21. 2016 January 29 12:02 pm
    bc3b permalink

    Conservative Treehouse, which is unabashedly pro-Trump, offers an analysis that agrees with JR:


  22. 2016 January 29 12:32 pm


    … too damaging to release even if almost entirely redacted, but you know.. there was nothing classified or anything in her emails. /s

  23. 2016 January 29 12:39 pm
    justrand permalink

    excellent thought-piece, with this key paragraph:

    “But what if the American heartland rebels? Left-wing rebellion in our culture has always been dependent on the center holding; it’s a kind of play rebellion, college kids taking over a park while daddy pays their allowance. But suppose daddy started to rebel?”


  24. 2016 January 29 12:57 pm
    bc3b permalink

    Poll: Trump (51%) and Cruz 915%) HAVE 66% OF mICHIGAN gop PRIMARY VOTE:

    http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/83147628-storyPoll: Trump (51%) and Cruz (15%) have a combined 66% of Michigan GOP vote

  25. 2016 January 29 12:59 pm
    justrand permalink

    Trump has almost assuredly won the GOP nomination…now it’s time for him to focus almost exclusively on Hillary. I don’t mind Trump being a prick…when he picks the right target! 🙂

  26. 2016 January 29 1:00 pm

  27. 2016 January 29 1:02 pm

    24 – Gotta keep that gope vote split till then.
    25 – I gotta be honest I actually like that he’s prickish … 8 times out of 10 times, but then again given where I grew up it probably doesn’t bother me as much as others.

  28. 2016 January 29 1:03 pm
    bc3b permalink

    kh #20 –

    It’s difficult to get a total Trump audience total because people watched via so many different media: CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, Right Side News, youtube and other streaming options.

    AS “Weakly Standard” columnist is bragging that the debate audience was larger than the last GOP debate, failing to mention that FNC is available to 27% more households than Fox Business Channel.

  29. 2016 January 29 1:10 pm

    The opening in the piece by Carlson is funny, but on target.

    “About 15 years ago, I said something nasty on CNN about Donald Trump’s hair. I can’t now remember the context, assuming there was one. In any case, Trump saw it and left a message the next day.

    “It’s true you have better hair than I do,” Trump said matter-of-factly. “But I get more pussy than you do.” Click.

    At the time, I’d never met Trump and I remember feeling amused but also surprised he’d say something like that. Now the pattern seems entirely familiar. The message had all the hallmarks of a Trump attack: shocking, vulgar and indisputably true.

    … read the whole thing

  30. 2016 January 29 1:43 pm

    During Thursday night’s Republican primary debate, in order to attack and bloody both Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Fox News used selectively-edited video montages of both senators saying stuff. Video is the most powerful propaganda weapon ever conceived, and not only is the use of gotcha-video in a presidential debate highly prejudicial and subjective, a debate setting is not the proper venue for any sort of gotcha question.

    Save the cheap gotchas for interviews. Debates are about issues, the differences between the candidates, and the differences with one another that they wish to highlight.

    Fox’s destructive precedent of using gotcha-video needs to be strangled in the crib. The candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, should come together and put an immediate stop to the use of this misleading nonsense.

    Note how Fox News used its powerful gotcha-video against only two candidates, and not all seven. These were devastating moments served out in unequal portions, another example of how an unelected media attempts to choose our candidates.

    Now just try to imagine the video the anti-Trump Fox News had in store for The Donald. On top of everything else the embattled cable giant had planned to sandbag Trump with last night (illegal alien and Muslim activist questioners), it is safe to assume the “fair and balanced” network had a brutal gotcha-video all cued up.

    Anyone else want to question Trump’s decision to walk away from “a bad deal?”


  31. 2016 January 29 1:48 pm

    28 – Weekly standard can say whatever they like, everyone seems to know it was not a good night for their ratings, it just wasn’t a total disaster, you know damn well that on Monday they were hoping for 20 million+, they certainly were selling that type of figure to advertisers as recently as monday, and having to drop their spot price from 750k to 150k by Wednesday night cost them millions of dollars.

  32. 2016 January 29 2:30 pm
    bc3b permalink

    KH #30

    That was one of the things I hoped would be discussed: should debate moderators be impartial officials (like sports referees) or should they be activists? Everyone else seems to believe they should be less activist. CNN will attempt to trash all Republicans because that’s what CNN does.

    With FNC, it definitely seems like the moderators have an agenda. Their first debate objective was to take down Trump. That also would have been last night’s goal to except Custer decided to detour around the Little Big Horn so Cruz became the designated target.

  33. 2016 January 29 2:35 pm
    bc3b permalink

    JR #25 –

    You are right. It’s time for Trump to start trying to unify the candidates and their supporters. Hillary or whatever Democrat wins should be the target.

    According to an article on Drudge, Cruz is modifying his Iowa attack ads to attack Rubio rather than Trump as he is worrin=ed about finishing second after last night.

    Cruzis young and has time but he has to realize that debate tactics that win in high school, college or the courtroom don’t necessarily win with voters.

  34. 2016 January 29 2:55 pm


  35. 2016 January 29 3:05 pm
    drdog09 permalink

    ” as recently as monday, and having to drop their spot price from 750k to 150k by Wednesday night cost them millions of dollars.”

    Yep, and Trump has asked Fox to donate just $3m to the vets. That I believe is what they came close to raising in the WW event. So Murdoch, next time Trump asks for a donation to the vets, ya gonna listen???

  36. 2016 January 29 3:06 pm
    justrand permalink

    KH: “Fox’s destructive precedent of using gotcha-video needs to be strangled in the crib. The candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, should come together and put an immediate stop to the use of this misleading nonsense.

    Note how Fox News used its powerful gotcha-video against only two candidates, and not all seven. These were devastating moments served out in unequal portions, another example of how an unelected media attempts to choose our candidates.”


  37. 2016 January 29 3:09 pm
    drdog09 permalink

    Part I missed was Cruz getting petulant about 4 attack questions in a row by Fox. Something along the lines, ‘4 in a row, anymore and I leave.’ Which is the thin skinned part of him I am afraid does do well in DC. “Want a friend in DC get a dog.” — Truman.

  38. 2016 January 29 3:15 pm
    drdog09 permalink

    Sadly what the MSM is calling a debate really is not a debate. This is more like a political game show family feud style where Richard Dawson ask each contestant what is the best answer to the voters fears. But they score, not for being right but not looking like an idiot if they can.

  39. 2016 January 29 3:18 pm
    drdog09 permalink


    “Wait, had enough?…. Wait I am not done.” Only thing missing was the ‘Pop’, ‘Biff’, ‘Bam’ flying out of the guys head Batman style.

  40. 2016 January 29 4:41 pm
    bc3b permalink

    JR #36

    The difference between FNC and CNN becomes less by the day. CNN is better at covering actual news as FNC prefers operating from a TV studio.

  41. 2016 January 29 4:50 pm

    35 – He asked for 5m, they probably lost in the neighborhood of 9m, it was a good deal he offered them in that regard. Then again by that point in time it actually wasn’t because the space had been sold at the reduced price, and lets face it he knew they wouldn’t take it anyway. giggle.

    37 – I couldn’t tell if that was for real, or was some sort of attempted swipe at Trump like his campaign claimed later, even if it was intended that way it fell flat, too cute by half.

  42. 2016 January 29 5:28 pm
    The Ghost of Reason permalink

    IP – #34….. f’ing awesome! That needs to go viral… Sad thing is that bus driver is now a target unless more rise up and do the same.

  43. 2016 January 29 5:34 pm
    gnqanq permalink

    JR – #23 – What Trump or any republican with balls (I know none exist) should announce an October Surprise (late October) that if elected, Hillary and any other person(s) involved with breaking the law will be prosecuted to the fullest of the law pertaining to the e-mails.

    How many people would come out of the wood work to vote for Trump to see Hillary go to jail.

  44. 2016 January 29 5:42 pm
    drdog09 permalink


    Oh yeah. That would be good.

  45. 2016 January 29 7:44 pm
    drdog09 permalink

  46. 2016 January 29 8:01 pm
    justrand permalink

    Interesting post in #45…love and agree with the ’12 O’Clock High’ analogy…just not all his conclusions.

    Time for a “Maximum Effort”

  47. 2016 January 29 8:17 pm
    gnqanq permalink

    drdog – I agree with what he is saying…..BUT, it is too late. We are about to reach the end point and people are going to find out there is no alternative. And people are going to be pissed that everything they worked for or dreamed about is not going to happen. Wont want to be those people that are responsible for it. Not going to end well for them.

  48. 2016 January 30 6:57 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Politico fractures — https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2016/01/28/politico-implodes/ — Sounds delicious but those headed for the exits won’t do so till November.

  49. 2016 January 30 7:41 am
    justrand permalink

    Gnqanq, you are correct…it IS too late to stop the collapse, but not too late to plan and prepare for what comes next.

    And it may still be possible to slow the collapse. Trump, Cruz, and maybe even Rubio might see a slower collapse. ANY Democrat, but especially Hillary, will hasten it.

  50. 2016 January 30 8:31 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Vote Hillary! Lets get it over with.

  51. 2016 January 30 9:07 am

    50~~~you beat me to it. (Isn’t it better to pull the tape off the wound all at once?)

  52. 2016 January 30 9:46 am
    justrand permalink

    drdog & IP…I’m starting to agree with ya’ll on that! 👿

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