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Biden's town hall viewership surpasses Trump's

Biden's town hall viewership surpasses Trump's

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska Jeff Daniels narrates new Biden campaign ad for Michigan MORE’s Thursday night town hall surpassed President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE’s competing event in viewership, according to final numbers from Nielsen Media Research.

Biden’s 90-minute event on ABC News garnered 14.1 million viewers, compared with 13.5 million for Trump’s hourlong town hall, which aired on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. The figures, released Friday, included those who watched the town halls on television and those who streamed the events.

The ratings disparity may sting for a notoriously press-obsessed president, but it also indicates more eyeballs were on Biden at a time when Trump desperately needs to shake up the race, as polls show him lagging the former vice president by double digits nationally.

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Biden failed to offer Trump a major gaffe or viral moment, instead holding a low-key, policy-focused town hall with host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosAll fracked up: Biden's Keystone State breakdown The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus MORE. Meanwhile, Trump repeatedly clashed with NBC host Savannah Guthrie and raised eyebrows when he declined to condemn the outlandish QAnon conspiracy theory.

“Turns out more people last night were interested in watching a leader with a clear plan to get this pandemic under control and Americans back to work, than the same combative, chaotic liar whose incompetence got us into this mess — regardless of how many channels he was on,” tweeted Biden spokesman TJ Ducklo.

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Biden’s stronger viewership may also be indicative of MSNBC’s more liberal audience declining to watch the president.

The latest numbers indicate the town halls garnered significantly higher viewership than past events, including 6.7 million viewers for Biden in an Oct. 5 town hall and 3.8 million for Trump in September on ABC, indicating a possible rise in interest in the election. The dueling town halls also took place on the same night the second head-to-head debate was supposed to air before it was scrapped over disagreements about its virtual format.

Still, the ratings paled in comparison to the 73 million viewers the first debate drew last month. 

NBC News faced criticism over its scheduling of the Trump event at the same time as Biden’s town hall, which had been in the books for more than a week, making it difficult for viewers to watch both candidates.