While we have zero interest in wading too much into the waters of politics on CarterMatt (there are plenty of other places you can for that), we are constantly interested in TV ratings. With that, we thought we’d take a moment to analyze whether or not Donald Trump skipping out on Thursday night’s GOP Debate actually made some sort of significant dent in the numbers for Fox News. Trump had boasted that it would, and he hosted a fundraiser for military veterans instead that received some coverage from MSNBC and CNN.
Overall, it doesn’t seem as though Fox News is going to be too upset by all that transpired. Per Deadline, the debate sans Trump drew 12.5 million viewers in primetime; while this is far from the most-watched debate of the campaign season (the first Fox News debate this summer had 24 million), it’s also not the worst. A recent debate on Fox Business Network drew 11 million with Trump on board, but to be fair fewer viewers in America have that channel as opposed to Fox News proper.
As for the coverage of Trump’s fundraiser in Iowa, neither CNN (1.7 million) nor MSNBC (1 million) provided much competition … but they also were not covering the event exclusively over the two hours.
Ultimately, it’s hard to draw an enormous conclusion as to whether or not Trump’s absence really hurt the latest Fox News debate. They probably did lose a few viewers as a result of his boycott, but at the same time the very-public way in which he boycotted may have brought more attention to it. In the end, Trump can probably claim that his absence hurt the network, while the network in turn can feel very satisfied about their return.
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