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PBS and Politico’s Democratic Debate the Least Watched of the Year

Only 6.2 million viewers tuned into Thursday night’s debate

PBS and Politico’s Democratic debate Thursday night was watched by a combined 6.171 million television viewers, making it the least watched debate of the year.

On CNN, where the debate was simulcast, the event reached a little more than 4 million viewers, while PBS’ broadcast had more than 2 million viewers. Across streaming platforms, however, the debate drew in 8.4 million live streams, with PBS NewsHour’s Facebook page bringing in the majority of those views.

Last month’s debate, hosted by MSNBC, garnered 6.5 million viewers — a 31% drop from CNN’s October debate, which had 8.3 million viewers. Between November and December’s debates, there was roughly a 5% drop in combined television viewership. The first debate, held back in June, still drew the largest audience, with 18.1 million viewers tuning in to the second night.

Hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico at Los Angeles’ Loyola Marymount University, Thursday’s debate featured seven Democratic candidates: Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer. PBS anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz and PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor moderated.

Candidates discussed topics that included immigration, climate change and President Donald Trump’s impeachment, along with a heated discussion about private political fundraisers. Catch up with The Wrap’s recap of the night here.