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

Joe BidenJoe BidenHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline Overnight Defense: Trump campaign's use of military helicopter raises ethics concerns | Air Force jets intercept aircraft over Trump rally | Senators introduce bill to expand visa screenings 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 ClintonHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Trump fights for battleground Arizona Biden leads Trump by 12 in new national poll 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 HarrisTrump fights for battleground Arizona Biden to air 90-minute radio programs targeting Black voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's big battleground | Trump and Harris hit the trail in Arizona | Turnout surges among new voters 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 John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline 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 ObamaMichelle Obama releases her voting playlist Obama to young voters: Create 'a new normal in America' by voting for Biden Obama hits trail to help Biden, protect legacy 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.