Final Presidential Debate’s Early Ratings Grow From No. 2, But Nowhere Near Trump-Clinton 1

Nielsen overnight numbers should be considered very preliminary estimates, of course

Last Updated: October 20, 2016 @ 8:32 AM

Ratings for the third debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton grew from the second 2016 presidential contest, but it was still nowhere near the record heights of their first meeting.

Here are the Nielsen overnights for the three 2016 presidential debates:
Debate 1:  46.2
Debate 2:  37.2*
Debate 3:  39.7

(*NBC sat out the second simulcast to air “Sunday Night Football.”)

This initial date stream for last night’s Chris Wallace-moderated debate, of course, should be considered very preliminary. We won’t get an actual all-in viewer snapshot until later on Thursday.

The first debate ended up with 84 million total viewers, an all-time record. The second one posted 66.5 million.

The sophomore (and sophomoric, at times) debate’s final numbers marked the second-biggest audience for a second battle, falling behind George H.W. Bush-Bill Clinton-Ross Perot in 1992 (69.9 million viewers).

Individually, CBS was debate No. 2’s top dog, with 16.5 million total viewers. That broadcaster was followed by ABC (11.5 million), CNN (11.3 million), Fox News Channel (9.9 million), Fox (5.6 million), MSNBC (5.5 million), PBS (2.9 million) Univision (2.4 million), Fox Business News (565,000), CNBC (395,000) and TV Azteca (43,000).

Trump-Clinton 2 may not have broken Nielsen TV viewing records, but it did on Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter, it accounted for 17 million live tweets. Facebook saw 19.8 million U.S. users generate more than 92.4 million related likes, posts, comments and shares.

The social stats for the third go-around remain to be seen.

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