CNN expects ‘significantly smaller’ ratings for Dem debate – Politico

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The Republican and Democratic fields are like night and day, and no event will make that more apparent than Tuesday’s first Democratic debate in Las Vegas, hosted by CNN and Facebook.

With only five candidates, just two of whom are registering above single digits in the polls, very few people expect that the ratings or impact on the race will be as dramatic as what the race saw from Cleveland and Simi Valley on the Republican side.

A ratings success for CNN will look nothing like the 23 million viewers the network saw at the second GOP debate, or the 24 million viewers from the first GOP debate hosted by Fox News.

“Viewership for the first two GOP debates was an anomaly in a highly unusual Republican nomination cycle. While I won’t predict ratings for this debate, we expect the audience to be significantly smaller,” said CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.

The 2008 cycle saw some high numbers for the Democratic debates, drawn by the head-to-head match-up of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom had a chance to make history as either the first black or woman president. The most watched Democratic debates of the 2008 cycle came late in the season. On Jan. 31, 2008, the Democratic debate hosted by CNN, brought in 8.3 million viewers. The second most watched debate of the 2008 cycle was hosted by MSNBC on Feb. 26, and brought in 7.77 million viewers.

For comparison’s sake to Tuesday’s debate, the October debate of the 2008 cycle, hosted by MSNBC, brought in just 2.45 million viewers.

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