Republican Debate No. 2 Draws in 9.5 Million Viewers, Down 26% From First Event

Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis were among the seven GOP hopefuls

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The second Republican debate ahead of the 2024 election drew in 9.5 million viewers across Fox News Channel (FNC), Fox Business Network (FBN) and Univision, according Nielsen figures, beating viewership for 60% of the debates during the 2016 and 2020 election cycle.

As viewers tuned in to watch seven Republican hopefuls discuss pressing topics at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, the event drew in 2 million viewers in the key cable demographic among adults 25-54. Both total and demo viewership dropped from the first GOP debate in late August, with total viewers down 26% from its prior viewership of 12.8 million and demo viewers down 29% from the first debate’s demo viewership of 2.82 million.

Hosted by FBN, the event was telecast on FBN and Univision, simulcast on Fox News and streamed on Fox Nation. The program was co-moderated by FNC’s Dana Perino, FBN’s “Varney & Co.” host Stuart Varney and Univision’s Ilia Calderón.

On Fox News, which hosted the first Republican primary debate, the event averaged 6.69 million total viewers and 1.21 million viewers in the demo, beating all cable news networks across the board.

The airing on FBN brought in 1.82 million viewers and 411,000 viewers in the demo, marking the network’s highest-rating program since 2016. On Univision, the program scored an audience of 813,000 total viewers and 265,000 viewers in the demo.  

Debate participants present at Wednesday’s gathering included North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and former Vice President Mike Pence. Notably, former President Donald Trump was not in attendance.


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