The early numbers are in, and it looks like Trump drew yet another massive audience to the GOP — the highest in CNN’s history:
Wednesday’s GOP debate appears to be the highest-rated event in CNN’s history, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.
The prime time debate averaged a 14.7 household rating, indicating that 1 in 7 American homes with TVs tuned in.
These are NFL-level ratings — affirming that the Donald Trump fueled Republican debate slate is one of the most popular television shows of the year.
The overnight ratings estimates are subject to adjustments. But the 14.7 rating is likely to translate to 20-plus million viewers once final viewership figures come out Thursday afternoon.
Fox’s GOP debate last month received a 16.0 preliminary rating the next morning. That number later extrapolated to 24 million live viewers. (Another 1.1 million viewers watched via DVRs.)
In other words, millions of Americans got an unfiltered look at the party’s best communicators. For the first time a GOP race is actually a pop culture event, and that is — on balance — a very good thing for the party.