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Biden draws highest TV ratings of Democratic convention, but down from 2016

Joe BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE's speech Thursday night accepting the Democratic presidential nomination was the highest-rated event of the week for the Democratic National Convention, while drawing a smaller audience than Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Hillary Clinton backs Manhattan DA candidate in first endorsement of year NSA leaker Reality Winner released from federal prison MORE's speech at the convention in 2016, according to early estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

Biden's speech was watched by 21.8 million people on TV, according to initial figures from Nielsen, beating out the early numbers for other major speeches at the convention earlier in the week. The figure, which does not include online streaming of the speech, is expected to grow when additional networks are added.

The early estimate for Thursday's TV audience is a slight uptick from the previous night, when Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisDemocrats learn hard truths about Capitol breach Harris calls for pathway to citizenship for Dreamers on DACA anniversary Abbott says he'll solicit public donations for border wall MORE (D-Calif.) delivered her acceptance speech to be Biden's running mate and former President Obama spoke in support of his former vice president.

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Still, the initial numbers mark a 21 percent drop from Clinton's speech at the convention in 2016, when she accepted the Democratic nomination that year. It is also more than 38 percent lower than President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE's acceptance speech at the Republican convention four years ago, which drew 34.9 million viewers.

Speeches earlier in the week from prominent Democratic figures such as Obama, former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaJill Biden, Kate Middleton to meet this week Jill Biden to focus on military families on foreign trip Book claims Trump believed Democrats would replace Biden with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama in 2020 election MORE and Clinton were pre-taped and without audience reaction, which has dampened the usual energy and excitement that accompanies presidential nominating conventions.  

Biden's speech Thursday night, broadcast from Delaware and lasting 24 minutes, was delivered live and earned praise from most political pundits.

The length of the speech by the former vice president was the shortest speech since at least 1984. That year, Walter Mondale delivered a more than 30-minute speech.

The 2020 Republican National Convention will be held next week at the White House, with many speeches expected to be held outside on the South Lawn or Rose Garden.

Biden currently leads Trump in the RealClearPolitics polling index by 7.4 points.