Did More People Watch the RNC Than the DNC?

Because online streaming numbers are not tracked by an objective source, it's impossible to know.

A graphic created by Students for Trump that compares the viewership of the Republican National Convention and Democratic National convention has gone viral on social media, even getting reshared by Donald Trump Jr.

As noted in the small text in the lower left-hand corner, the graphic shows only how many people watched the conventions on C-SPAN’s YouTube channel, which was one of many streaming platforms on which the conventions could be viewed and doesn’t take into account TV viewership on network and cable news.

Viewership of the DNC on television networks was higher than the RNC each of the four nights, with the DNC averaging 21.57 million and the and RNC 18.8 million viewers per night, respectively.  More specifically, 24.6 million viewers watched Joe Biden’s acceptance speech, and 23.8 million watched Trump’s. Nielsen Media Research, which is the firm that tracks and reports TV viewership, only collected data on the conventions’ viewership from PBS stations, broadcast networks, and cable networks. Some cord cutters are still captured by Nielsen’s figures, thanks to agreements with services like YouTube TV, but by and large online streaming numbers were not tracked by Nielson, leaving the Trump and Biden campaigns as the only source for how many views their conventions received across their streams on social media platforms, YouTube, and an array of other streaming services. 

Trump and his campaign self-reported that the RNC received 147.9 million views on television and online, a higher figure than the 122 million views Democrats said their convention received. These claims have not been independently verified and neither campaign has provided any information to substantiate their numbers. 

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