Ratings for first Republican debate of 2024 couldn’t compare with 2016
The ratings for the first Republican debate of 2024 were much lower than for the 2016 version. CNN said the debate, which featured six lesser-known Republicans vying for the party’s nomination, drew an average of 4.9 million viewers — in comparison with the 12.9 million viewers who tuned in for the opening salvo between Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and the rest of the GOP field in 2016. The debate also earned lower ratings in the key demographic of viewers aged 25-54, with average ratings of 1.6 million coming in below the 4.4 million viewers in the same demographic as in 2016. It was also lower in overall comparisons with the first Democratic debate of 2020, which earned 15.3 million viewers overall and 4.5 million viewers in the 25-54 demographic. Political scientists suggest that the reasons for the lower-than-expected viewership of the first Republican debate of 2024 may be due to the lower familiarity with the participating candidates as compared to the larger-than-life personas of some of the contenders from 2016, as well as a general sense of fatigue with and disillusionment with traditional politics that has defined the last few years post-Trump.