The vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris was a much bigger audience draw than the VP debate in 2016, according to Nielsen.
More than 57 million people watched Wednesday’s VP debate across eighteen channels on television. About 37 million people watched the 2016 debate between Pence and Tim Kaine.
The Pence-Harris debate was also up compared with the 2012 debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, which averaged 51 million viewers.
Nielsen’s data does not include people who streamed the debate on phones and other devices or who listened on the radio, so the full audience was even bigger.
Vice presidential debates are sometimes an afterthought, but not this time around. The ratings reflect ample interest in the 2020 election; Harris’ status as a trailblazer; and a monumental news cycle.
However, Wednesday’s debate did not match the record ratings for the VP debate in 2008, when 70 million people tuned in to watch Sarah Palin and Joe Biden face off.
Last week’s presidential debate between Biden and President Trump netted more than 73 million viewers.