DNC and RNC Ratings in Review: Sorted by Network, Age Group and More

Ratings DNC RNC Conventions

Now that both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions have ended, here is a closer, unadulterated look at viewership trends for each presidential candidate’s four-night showcase.

In the first table below, we have broken down viewership for the DNC (which ran Aug. 17-20) and RNC (Aug. 24-27) by both network (including broadcast and the three major cable newsers, as verified by Nielsen) and age group. There, you will see which political party plays heaviest on which cable networks (spoiler alert: no great surprises!), as well as observe that their age splits are identical — no one’s TV audience skewed younger than the other guy’s.

We also tallied the overall closing night audience… how many watched each presidential candidate’s speech… and the average nightly TV viewership for each convention.

C-SPAN does not report their TV viewership numbers. However, in the second table below, we have noted the current “views” on their YouTube channel (as of Sunday 9am ET) for each night of each convention, plus each nominee’s speech. There, you can see that the nightly RNC videos amassed, on average, 16 times more views than the DNC’s — keeping in mind, of course, that “views” do not equal unique viewers.

No other online/streaming viewership for either convention has been reliably reported.

Survey the “tale of the tape”and hit the Comments with any observations.  

TV Viewership DNC average RNC average
ABC 2,500,000 2,200,000
CBS 2,000,000 1,700,000
NBC 2,300,000 2,100,000
CNN 5,100,000
(24% of TV audience)
Fox News 2,400,000 7,800,000
(40% of TV audience)
MSNBC 5,800,000
(27% of TV audience)
Adults 18-34 1,230,000
(6% of audience)
(6% of audience)
Adults 34-54 4,400,000
(22% of audience)
(22% of audience)
Adults 55+ 14,600,000
(72% of audience)
(72% of audience)
Closing night audience* 24,600,000 23,800,000
Nominee’s speech*
23,600,000 21,600,000
4-Night Average* 21,600,000 19,400,000

* Total viewership figures include ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CNN, CNNe, MSNBC, Telemundo, Univision, PBS, Newsmax and Newsy

C-SPAN YouTube views DNC RNC
Night 1 87,000 1,000,000
Night 2 52,000 1,800,000
Night 3 66,000 1,000,000
Night 4 167,000 2,100,000
4-Night Average 93,000 1,475,000
Nominee’s speech 470,000 748,000