DNC Second Night Viewership Drops 22 Percent Compared to 2016

August 20, 2020 Updated: August 20, 2020

Around 22 percent fewer American viewers tuned in to the second evening of the Democrat National Convention (DNC) compared to the same period in 2016, according to measurement and data analytics firm Nielsen.

The drop in viewership of Tuesday’s event, which compared to 24.7 million in 2016 drew 19.2 million viewers across 10 networks and saw Vice President Joe Biden receive the formal nomination to run for president as a Democrat, followed a similar drop of around 24 percent in viewership for the DNC’s first night compared to four years ago. Monday’s event drew 19.7 million viewers, while the first night in 2016 drew an audience of 26 million.

The Nielsen figures only include traditional television broadcasts and not online and streaming viewers, which are becoming increasingly popular forms of consuming content by American audiences, and may be a factor in the viewership drop. Other suppositions include the fact that the convention was held virtually due to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus outbreak and so lacked the on-site run-up coverage that tends to stoke interest.

Biden, a six-term senator and twice-failed presidential candidate, is set to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday night in a mostly empty convention hall near his Delaware home. On Tuesday, Biden’s wife of more than 40 years, Jill Biden, spoke of her husband in deeply personal terms, characterizing the lifelong politician as a man of empathy and resilience.

“There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it—how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going,” she said. “But I’ve always understood why he did it. He does it for you.”

Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris Addresses Virtual DNC From Delaware
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and her husband Douglas Emhoff and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden appear on stage after Harris delivered her acceptance speech on the third night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., on Aug. 19, 2020. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Republican convention will be held next week, with President Donald Trump telling the New York Post that the event will likely include speeches staged outside the White House.

“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good,” Trump told the publication.

“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns, we have various lawns, so we could have it outside in terms of the China virus,” the president continued, making a reference to the origin of the CCP virus and the social distancing measures that are in place to combat the potentially deadly bug.

“We could have quite a group of people. It’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people,” he added when asked if there would be a crowd of supporters on hand when Trump formally accepts the Republican nomination.

The most recent average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics shows Biden with a 6.7-point lead over Trump, at 49.9 percent compared to 43.2 percent.

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