Biden tops Trump in convention speech TV ratings


The television ratings for President Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention are in — and he probably won’t like them.

According to overnight data from Nielsen, Trump’s primetime speech on Thursday night drew a rating of 14.1, which means 14.1 percent of homes in more than 50 major markets around the country tuned in.

Joe Biden, by comparison, drew a 17.5 rating for his acceptance speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention.

The overnight ratings include combined viewership data from the six major U.S. network and cable news channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. They do not include online and streaming viewers.

In terms of viewers, an estimated 23.6 million watched Biden’s acceptance speech, which was 22 minutes long, compared with the 21.6 million who watched Trump’s 70-minute RNC address. Final viewership totals will be released by Nielsen later Friday afternoon.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden
President Trump and Joe Biden deliver their 2020 acceptance speeches. (Carlos Barria/Reuters, Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

While TV ratings were down for both conventions compared with 2016, the Democratic convention drew higher overnight ratings than the GOP in 2020 on each of their four nights.

The biggest ratings gap came on night three, when Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, drew a 16.2 rating for her acceptance speech, compared with the 10.5 rating Vice President Mike Pence drew for his.

Shortly after the overnight numbers were released, the Biden campaign took a dig at the ratings-obsessed president.

“I always forget, does @realDonaldTrump care about his television ratings?” tweeted TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign. “Or is that not something he cares about? Like, do you think it’ll trigger him that @JoeBiden’s speech got way bigger ratings than his did?”

Earlier Friday, Trump tweeted his thanks for “Great Ratings & Reviews” of his speech.

A television at Buck Bradley's Saloon and Eatery
The Democratic National Convention as seen from Buck Bradley's Saloon and Eatery in Milwaukee. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Viewership comparisons

2020 conventions | Overnight ratings

• DNC night 1: 14.6

• RNC night 1: 11.6

• DNC night 2: 14.5

• RNC night 2: 12.4

• DNC night 3: 16.2

• RNC night 3: 10.5

• DNC night 4: 17.5

• RNC night 4: 14.1

2020 conventions | No. of TV viewers

• DNC night 1: 19,749,000

• RNC night 1: 17,010,000

• DNC night 2: 19,215,000

• RNC night 2: 19,424,000

• DNC night 3: 22,785,000

• RNC night 3: 17,321,000

• DNC night 4: 24,603,000

• RNC night 4: 23,814,000

2016 conventions | No. of TV viewers

• DNC night 1: 25,952,000

• RNC night 1: 23,019,000

• DNC night 2: 24,708,000

• RNC night 2: 19,754,000

• DNC night 3: 24,431,000

• RNC night 3: 23,371,000

• DNC night 4: 29,803,000

• RNC night 4: 32,202,000

Source: Nielsen


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