Which Won? The Trump Interview or the GOP Primary Debate?
Since Wednesday night’s GOP primary debate and Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson, there’s been a lot of buzz about the viewership Trump’s pre-taped interview with Tucker Carlson, which was posted just before the debate began, received.
But what about the debate? How many people would watch it? There were questions about whether there’d be any interest without Trump’s participation, but because the interview and the debate essentially aired at the same time, many wondered if Trump’s scheme would kill interest in the debate.
Polls suggested a sizable portion of Republicans were interested in watching. According to a YouGov poll, 58% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats said they’d “definitely or probably watch the debate.”
How many actually did?
Well, it turns out that the debate did really well. According to Sarah Arnold at our sister site Townhall, “The first GOP primary showdown on Fox News was, in fact, the most-watched telecast in all of linear TV, digital, and streaming on Wednesday night with an average of more than 12.8 million viewers including more than 2.8 million in the coveted 25-54 year-old demographic.”
The debate, which Trump had hoped to tank by not being involved and having his interview with Tucker Carlson air at the same time, also “beat more than 70 percent of all presidential debates in the 2016 and 2020 election cycles.”
Now, that brings us back to the question of just how many people actually watched the Trump interview. Much has been made of the large number of views that the interview received on X (formerly known on Twitter). Trump ally Sebastian Gorka argued that since Trump’s interview amassed 75 million views in an hour, that Fox News was “dead.” But as I previously explained, the number of views attributed to a video includes those who watch just a few seconds of it or even just scroll past it on their feed without even looking at it. Multiple views by the same user are also counted as unique views.
Related: Did Trump’s Interview With Tucker Carlson Really Get Huge Numbers?
So, while the interview has now amassed over 240 million views as of Thursday evening, the Trump campaign wants us to believe that those numbers are as legitimate as television viewership numbers. If they want to believe that 240 million people (roughly 70% of the entire U.S. population) actually watched the interview, I guess they’re entitled to believe whatever fantasy they want.
But further undermining their case is the fact that according to an Ipsos poll cited by Ron DeSantis’s press secretary, only 7 percent of those who didn’t watch the GOP debate watched the Trump interview. That’s not a lot. In fact, more said they were doing laundry.
BREAKING: More Republican primary voters folded laundry than watched Trump’s interview, and Ron DeSantis moves to the forefront of primary voters’ minds. https://t.co/KrtvHHNgC5 pic.twitter.com/137qQ3yWlb
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) August 24, 2023
So, based on all of the evidence we have, there is plenty of reason to believe that despite the Trump interview’s impressive viewership numbers, there were likely more people who watched the GOP debate.