De­bate was most-watched ever

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

The show­down be­tween Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump on Mon­day ap­pears likely to set a record for the most­watched pres­i­den­tial de­bate ever.

A fi­nal view­er­ship es­ti­mate from the Nielsen com­pany was not im­me­di­ately avail­able on Tues­day. But pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mates from 11 of the net­works that car­ried the de­bate to­taled 81.4 mil­lion view­ers, which would top­ple a record that had stood for 36 years.

The pre­vi­ous record for pres­i­den­tial de­bate view­er­ship was the 80.6 mil­lion peo­ple who saw the only de­bate in 1980 be­tween in­cum­bent Demo­crat Jimmy Carter and Repub­li­can chal­lenger Ronald Rea­gan.

No de­bate af­ter that ex­ceeded 70 mil­lion view­ers.

Clin­ton has some brag­ging rights at home. When fi­nal re­sults are in, the au­di­ence for her first pres­i­den­tial de­bate will more than dou­ble what her hus­band, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, re­ceived for his last pres­i­den­tial de­bate in 1996 (36.3 mil­lion view­ers).

Only the Su­per Bowl an­nu­ally com­mands a tele­vi­sion au­di­ence of that size. The big­gest au­di­ence in U.S. tele­vi­sion his­tory was the 114.4 mil­lion peo­ple who watched the 2015 Su­per Bowl be­tween New Eng­land and Seat­tle.

JOHN LOCHER — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mike Pence waits to do a TV in­ter­view be­fore Mon­day’s pres­i­den­tial de­bate on Long Is­land.

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