Biden's town hall viewership surpasses Trump's

Biden's town hall viewership surpasses Trump's

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News MORE’s Thursday night town hall surpassed President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away 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 StephanopoulosThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates Senate Republican 'not happy' with Pelosi plan to delay infrastructure vote 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.