So Who Won: Fox or Trump?

Well, it's not exactly clear
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2016 2:32 PM CST
So Who Won: Fox or Trump?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Who won Thursday night: Donald Trump or Fox News? The early word seems to be that there's "no clear winner," as the Baltimore Sun puts it. Trump, of course, skipped the Fox News GOP debate, and other networks including CNN and MSNBC ran portions of Trump's alternate event, a fundraiser for veterans. CNNMoney crunches a bunch of numbers:

  • The debate got 12.5 million viewers, while CNN and MSNBC got a combined total of about 2.7 million viewers. According to ratings experts, that means Trump did likely take a "chunk" of viewers who otherwise would have watched Fox.

  • That 12.5 million number is half of the 25 million viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the season, which was attended by Trump and was also on Fox News. That's a comparison that seems "disappointing," per CNNMoney.
  • The other debates this cycle have gotten between 11 million and 25 million viewers, and CNNMoney thinks the best debate for comparison is the CNN Dec. 15 debate, which drew 18 million viewers. So, again, a disappointing comparison for Fox.
  • Ultimately, we'll never know the true total for Trump's event since it was covered so many places, nor will we know how many of those viewers would have watched Fox instead had Trump been at the debate.
  • What we do know: Trump won Twitter, grabbing 36% of the #GOPDebate candidate mentions. In second place: Ted Cruz with 16%. But he lost Google, with "debate live stream" searches beating "Trump live stream" searches by 170%.
  • And Trump is still winning the Drudge Report's informal poll with 58.73% of the vote as of this writing. "Those who might argue—or hope—that the Trump fever will break because of the fight with Fox might want to take notice of those, yes, unscientific results," writes Jimmy LaSalvia at Salon. "As a measure of fervor within a primary, it captures something real about the passion and the intensity of Trump’s support among the base."
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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