Democrats surpassed expectations and increased their debate audience by 2.35 million after Republicans lost 7.07 million viewers for their latest debate.
Nielsen ratings data released by NBC show Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate delivered 10.2 million viewers-the second-largest audience for Democratic debates this season, behind CNN’s debate in October, which had an audience of 15.3 million.
Another 1.2 million viewers streamed the event live via YouTube, NBCNews.com, and various apps.
Momentum would seem to be on the Democratic side as the debate audience is growing for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley while viewers are increasingly turning off Donald Trump and his Island of Republican Misfit Toys. The Democrats rewarded the viewers who tuned in with the best debate of the year.
For those who like drama, there was tons to offer and Hillary Clinton moved to fend off the growing challenge of Bernie Sanders. Sen. Sanders painted the strongest contrast yet between himself and former Sec. Clinton and Martin O’Malley elbowed his way into the conversation with a few pointed barbs. For those who like policy, the Democratic debate was crammed with policy. Viewers came away from the debate thinking that the three Democratic candidates could have a debate for hour longer on dozens of issues. The Democratic debate also offered a discussion about the problems facing ordinary Americans in their daily lives.
The Republican debates come off sounding like a reality television competition. After 2 and half hours of watching the candidates posture and beat their chests, one half expects the moderators to announce that the phone lines are open for audience voting. Issues are non-existent in the Republican debates, and policy discussions are limited a game of who can disagree with President Obama more.
As the Democratic race has tightened, viewers are paying more attention. The increased attention has translated to higher ratings. The close contest was supposed to be on the Republican side, but with Donald Trump looking stronger by the day, attention and intrigue have tilted towards the Democrats.
The only difference between 2016 and 2012 is that Republicans are giving a racist reality TV star top billing. When it is time to get serious about selecting a president, attention turns to the Democratic Party.
Democrats are coming home, and Republicans have nowhere to go but down.