Beto O’Rourke’s CNN town hall Tuesday night did not attract the ratings his campaign hoped for. According to Deadline, O’Rourke attracted an average of 714,000 viewers and a news demographic (25-54 year-olds) of 194,000 viewers.
One stat that stood out, and will make Beto’s team sweat is that his total viewership of 714,000 fell short of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s, whose town hall was back in March and attracted 754,000 viewers.
Ratings assembled by Nielson show that during last night’s 10-11:15pm timeslot MSNBC and Fox News dominated CNN’s – 2.196 million for MSNBC and 2.260 million for Fox.
Comparing to other candidates, O’Rourke also falls far from competitive with Bernie Sanders as his town hall on Fox News has attracted the most viewers thus far with 2.55 million. Kamala Harris attracted 1.954 viewers on CNN, setting a network record as far as town halls go.
Although rising star Pete Buttigieg, and his Fox News town hall delivered 1.1 million viewers, O’Rourke did edge Mayor Pete when it comes to 25-54 year-olds, as Buttigieg only garnered 172,000 news demo viewers.
The reasons people tune into town halls is always variable, but Beto’s “relaunch” into a national spotlight is seemingly off to a rocky start.
Beto Receives Praise From Pundits
Although the numbers didn’t knock anyone’s socks off, O’Rourke did receive praise for the way he answered questions and presented himself during last night’s town hall.
CNN political commentator Doug Heye posted to Twitter some praise for Beto. “Beto is really good tonight. All those town halls no one saw have paid off – he’s prepared for every single question,” Heye tweeted.
Responding to Heye’s tweet was former Obama advisor, founder of Crooked Media and host of the popular podcast Pod Save America, Jon Favreau.
Quoting Heye’s initial tweet, Favreau tweeted, “Yeah, whether or not you agree with him, he’s offered a blizzard of policy specifics to every question.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also offered some praise for the former Texas Congressman.
Quoting a tweet of Beto responding to a question about Medicare for All, Scarborough said Beto is getting better.
“Do not bury BETO yet. He’s getting better. Eight long months until Iowa. One day at a time,” the MSNBC host tweeted.
With the Iowa Caucuses about eight months away, Beto will look to build some momentum on a national and local stage. He might be able to do that in the upcoming debates, as the DNC will host two in June and in July.