Kaine-Pence debate sees smallest VP audience since 2000

Kaine-Pence debate sees smallest VP audience since 2000
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Thirty-six million people watched Tuesday night’s fiery vice presidential debate, the lowest number since the 2000 VP contest, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen Research. 

Final numbers that include all cable networks covering the event will push the number higher, likely into the 38 million to 40 million range.

Either way, the audience would be the smallest for a vice presidential debate since 29.1 million watched Republican Dick Cheney take on Democrat Joe Lieberman in 2000. 

In 2012, the debate between Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE (R-Wis.) drew 51.4 million viewers. 

The highest-rated recent vice presidential debate came in 2008, when 69.9 million watched Biden and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The lowest-rated debate of all time occurred between Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreAnother VPOTUS tries for POTUS: What does history tell us? Several factors have hindered 'next up' presidential candidates in recent years Montana Gov. Bullock enters presidential race MORE and the late Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) in 1996. It drew just 26.6 million viewers. 

On the broadcast end, NBC won the night, with 6.69 million total viewers. CBS was second with 6.49 million. ABC and Fox rounded out the big four networks. 

On the cable front, CNN won in the 25–54 age demographic, with 1.68 million viewers to Fox News's 1.50 million.

Fox News led the way in total viewers, 6.08 million compared with CNN's 4.16 million. 

MSNBC finished third in both categories.

The numbers fell short of what most analysts were expecting.

A recent ABC poll showed 40 percent of those polled couldn't name either Pence or Kaine as their party's respective nominees. 

The second presidential debate between Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE is set for this Sunday night in St. Louis. Moderators for the town hall-style event will be ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Their first debate, on Sept. 26, drew a record 84 million viewers.