Republican Debates Draw More TV Viewers Than Democratic, But Reach Is The Same

Although the Republican debates generally have been earning higher TV viewership compared to the Democratic debates, Nielsen says the "reach" of those two different contests is about the same.

Democratic debates reached 68 million viewers, while Republican debates reached 67 million, according to Nielsen's Election Central, a new service highlighting political insights. Reach is defined as the total number of different people or households exposed, at least once, during a given period.

Looking at total time, however, a total 97 million debate viewers watched an average of 138 million for the Republican debates,  versus 63 million for the Democratic debates.

About 30.2 million viewers watched only the Democratic debates, while roughly 29.2 million viewers only viewed the Republican debates. A total of 37.8 million viewers watched both. 



The 68 million viewers who watched the Democratic debates spent slightly less time watching Democratic debates -- an average of 90 minutes -- than the 141 minutes that were spent watching the Republican debates. 

On the flip side, the 67 million viewers of the Republican debates watched more of those debates -- an average of 200 minutes -- and less time, 70 minutes, watching the Democratic debates.

Democratic-only viewers watched for an average of 48 minutes of the Democratic contests. The average is 124 minutes for those who watched both Democratic and Republican debates.

Republican-only viewers watched for 131 minutes of Republican debates on average and 254 minutes for both.

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