Politics 2020: Republican National Convention Down in Viewership

The first night of the Republican National Convention was down in total viewership on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, at least according to early numbers.

Kimberly Guilfoyle holding a sign© AP

Across the three broadcast networks, the RNC night one drew around 4.9 million total viewers, a 14% drop from last Monday’s DNC first night, which drew 5.7 million.

Looking at the networks individually, ABC scored the largest total viewership (as it did for the DNC), drawing 1.8 million viewers. NBC was right behind with 1.7 million, followed by CBS with 1.4 million.

The RNC is on course for much smaller numbers than the previous edition from four years ago. For comparison, the first night of the 2016 RNC delivered 10.1 million viewers in the preliminary broadcast ratings, more than twice the tally from this time around.

The fuller ratings picture for the RNC night 1 will become clearer later in the day when the cable news numbers will also be factored in.

The fact that the 2020 DNC and RNC are on course to be substantially down on the last edition isn’t necessarily surprising given that much of this year’s convention is pre-taped and that television viewership as a whole has declined significantly in the last four years.

After the President spoke earlier in the day, the first night of the RNC featured speeches from Donald Trump, Jr., former ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott and several other speakers.