CNN’s second Republican debate of 2015 scored big ratings, making it the third-most watched presidential debate in history.
The two-hour debate from Las Vegas, which focused heavily on national security, delivered an average of 18 million viewers for the network, according to Nielsen.
CNN’s first GOP debate in September attracted 23 million viewers while its October Democratic debate delivered over 15 million viewers.
The numbers for all three will surely elevate the network’s year-end ratings total, likely keeping it as a strong second-place behind Fox News.
Fox News’ August GOP debate was the highest-rated presidential debate of all time with 24 million viewers.
As TheWrap reported, Donald Trump provided his typical theatrics, getting into testy exchanges with Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and of course, ripping CNN. The Donald called it “very unprofessional” for CNN to make him the subject of the majority of questions asked to other candidates.
On Wednesday, most network pundits declared the debate a draw, with no candidates’ polling positions likely to change much. Jeb Bush, in particular, has drawn praise for delivering his strongest performance yet.