Are ratings for the presidential debates down?

I’ve never been a big fan of presidential debates, but this years’ have been particularly painful to watch; I don’t even like seeing excerpts on the news. Am I alone in this, or is this feeling widespread?

Factual question: are the Nielsen ratings down for this year’s presidential debates, or are they pretty much the same as in recent election years?

If you paid attention and actually followed the campaigns since summer, you would see that the GOP debates are much, much, much higher than 2012 and 2008

The DNC debates are lower.

Everybody loves a circus.

I would expect that the national debates later in the year will be very highly rated.

:confused: Assuming you are talking about rates of viewership (as opposed to levels of intoxication), how would watching the debates help me know this?

Can you provide a link to viewership numbers/Nielsen ratings that confirm your claim?

I’m not concerned with how the different debates this year stack up against each other; I’m really curious about how average viewership of debates during this election year compares with average viewership during previous election years (2012,2008, 2004, 2000, etc.).

**Eldersign **didn’t say that very friendlily, but the point is that the news media have made a bunch of noise about the high viewership of the R debates this time. Their post mortem for a day or two after each one has lots of segments about the high viewership. So if one watched zero debates but lots of e.g. CNN, one might reasonably be expected to have noticed this info.

That fits with what I’ve seen & heard anecdotally. A fairly high level of interest in Trump vs Cruz vs Rubio, but relatively little interest in Clinton vs Sanders.

ETA: Interest in the Republican debates seems to be much higher than in previous elections. Interest in the Democratic debates seems to be either the same or a little lower than in previous elections.

He didn’t say that you needed to watch the debates, but to listen to the commentary about them.

Link? Why not just Google for literally almost any story about the debates? Thisis the first one I got and it’s quite convincing.

Don’t blame your inattention and indifference to fact on others.

I had tried googling, but of the link titles in the results that I got, all seemed to be about the 2016 presidential debates themselves; none of the titles suggested that they would contain any comparison to previous election cycles. Indeed, the link you provided appears to be mostly ranking debate viewership within the 2016 election cycle.

Consider the article’s opening line:

Fourth highest in the history of televised presidential debates, or fourth highest during this election cycle? Sounds like the former, but let’s keep reading.

Here’s another claim:

Do they mean No. 1 of all time, or No. 1 during this election cycle? Once again, you might think the former, but then check the very next sentence:

No. 2 debate of the season. Ah, so it sounds like the 8/6/2015 debate was only the number one debate this season, and last Thursday’s debate was No. 4 this season.

The only references to prior election cycles are these unspecific remarks:

OK, so it appears that viewership this time is up, but I was hoping for specifics (I myself should have been more specific about that). Ideally what I would hope to see is a plot comparing average debate viewership (so far) in 2016 with average debate viewership during prior election cycles.

Instead I’m getting shots across my bow. :confused:

You know that 2012 was only 4 years ago. You could google ratings for the 2012 debates and get viewership numbers and compare them to the 2016 numbers you’ve already found/

How about this claim from the article I cited?

Is that not historically clear enough?

OK, that’s one. How about 2008? 2004? 2000? Earlier? I’m not asking some other Doper to compile all that for me; I was merely hoping that someone here might be aware of a trend-tracking site or article that aggregated all of this.

No, it is not. I have no idea now viewership over Fox’s 20-year history compares to the other major networks out there.

All I’ve got so far from that article is “This season’s debates…have smashed prior viewership records…”. I concede that the letter of my question has indeed been answered, but it makes me think of this exchange:

Q: “Can you tell me what time it is?”
A: “Yes.”

I was hoping for more.

The “presidential debates” are generally those between the leading candidates for the presidency; whoever has been nominated for the Democrats, likewise for Republicans, and less often a third party candidate. We aren’t far enough for that, we are seeing the debates between people vying for nominations (the “primary debates”).

That seems pedantic and clearly everyone participating in this thread understands this but I point it out for two reasons. Firstly, primary debates are usually given less attention than the debates between nominees, and secondly if you are looking for viewership statistics be sure you’re looking up the right thing.

I don’t think there exists some easy metrics, graphs, and so on because traditionally people don’t care as much at this stage. This election cycle has gotten an extraordinary amount of attention earlier than usual. I don’t know if it is because of the personalities involved or a concerted effort by the media to overhype things. But it has become a huge event when it usually isn’t. I think that’s why people reacted so strongly to your initial suggestion that people aren’t watching the debates. These debates are simply dominating American media and people eat it up.