President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden had dueling town halls on Thursday night instead of a presidential debate. Who had the most views? Biden’s town hall won out with TV viewers. Online viewers are a bit tougher to compare since TikTok encouraged viewers to use multiple devices to watch Biden’s event, while Trump’s was available in more locations online.
Here’s what you need to know.
Biden Beat Trump in TV Viewers
Biden beat Trump in total TV viewers according to a number of viewership categories. Biden’s town hall had 12.3 million total viewers with an average 2.6 rating in the 18-24 demographic, TV Line reported. In contrast, Trump’s town hall had 10.4 million total viewers with a 1.7 demo rating. Trump benefited from his town hall also airing on MSNB and CNBC, while Biden’s aired only on ABC.
Samba TV, a TV data and analytics provider, revealed that 6.3 million households watched Trump’s town hall on TV, while 6.9 million households watched Biden’s, Advanced Television reported.
Online Viewers Are Tougher To Compare
Meanwhile, online viewers are a bit tougher to compare. Biden’s town hall was aired on one YouTube channel live, while Trump’s was aired on multiple channels. Biden’s ABC News stream had 2.9 million views as of the time of publication.
In contrast, Trump’s NBC News stream had 2 million views as of the time of publication.
However, he also had streams on CNBC Television (1.1 million views) and CNBC (1.7 million views.)
A TikTok campaign might have also skewed the Biden vs Trump online numbers, Newsweek reported.
Hank Green made a TikTok video encouraging viewers to help Biden get better ratings online by watching his town hall on multiple devices live as it aired.
Others watched Biden’s town hall on multiple tabs to help him get more views.
Biden’s and Trump’s town halls aired at the same time on Thursday night. Trump’s aired on NBC News at 8 p.m. Eastern, while Biden’s aired on ABC News at 8 p.m. Eastern. Trump’s town hall was moderated by Savannah Guthrie of Today. George Stephanopoulos moderated Biden’s tow hall.
These aired instead of the second presidential debate. The Commission on Presidential Debates, following safety protocols, decided the second debate needed to be virtual. While Biden’s campaign was ready to take part in the debate, Trump’s campaign announced that he would not participate in a virtual debate. Trump’s campaign said there was no medical reason to have a virtual debate and claimed that the decision was biased for Biden, NPR reported. Biden’s campaign stated that Trump “clearly does not want to face questions from the voters about his failures on COVID and the economy.”
The Commission said in a statement about the second debate’s cancelation:
On October 8, CPD announced that for the health and safety of all involved, the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15 in Miami, would be conducted virtually. Subsequently, the campaigns of the two candidates who qualified for participation in the debate made a series of statements concerning their respective positions regarding their willingness to participate in a virtual debate on October 15, and each now has announced alternate plans for that date. It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15.”
The next debate on October 22 is still scheduled to happen.