Much has been made of the “enthusiasm gap” between Trump and Biden supporters. The short story is that fewer than half of Biden supporters are “very enthusiastic” about supporting him compared to 65 percent of Trump supporters, who identify as “very enthusiastic.”
This makes a difference on Election Day — usually. But with mail-in voting, you don’t have to motivate yourself to go out in the cold and stand in line at the polling place to cast your ballot. The most strenuous activity you’ll see in mail-in voting will be licking the stamp to post the ballot.
Nevertheless, there are other ways to measure “enthusiasm.” One of them is interest in party conventions. Alas, for Democrats, it’s something of a bust.
On Monday night, the NBA playoffs (without fans in the stands) trounced convention coverage on all three over-the-air networks combined. On Tuesday, America’s Got Talent swamped the network’s coverage of the Democrats.
But far more significantly, viewership compared to 2016 was way off.
The broadcast networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — took the biggest hit, with a 42-percent decline in viewers from 2016.
The three cable news networks fared better, but still saw a 16-percent drop in viewership from 2016, the report said.
The first night of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention was largely a snoozefest and that was reflected in its dismal TV ratings, which tanked compared to the opening festivities of 2016.Among the six, MSNBC drew the most eyes during the 10 p.m. hour, with 5.1 million viewers.
Tuesday’s numbers were almost as bad despite an appearance by Democratic Party superstars Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton.
Overall when including cable news numbers released by Nielsen late Thursday afternoon, the second night of the Democratic convention attracted 18.2 million viewers, down two percent from Monday night’s 18.6 million. When compared to 2016 Democratic convention numbers, Tuesday’s viewership was down 24 percent overall.
MSNBC led the way on the cable news front with 4.6 million viewers from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET. CNN was second in total viewers with 3.6 million, followed by Fox News with 3.5 million.
Democrats are claiming a total audience of 28 million — if you include all those online viewers. I doubt whether too many people were glued to their iPhones watching a bunch of nobodies trash Trump.
Indeed, the 18-28 demographic tuned the convention out entirely. The rating for viewership in that age range for NBC and ABC was a paltry 0.3. It was only 0.2 for CBS.
My theory on voters tuning in to this “America’s Got No Talent” TV show is that it’s just bad reality TV. Americans are a discerning folk and the Democratic convention as “must-watch” TV is like a cross between a bad episode of the Bachelor and a good episode of Marriage Boot Camp. There’s far more action and much less talk on both of those shows.