How Many Viewers Tuned In To Election Coverage?


It was a big night for President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

It was perhaps an even bigger night for the 13 U.S. television networks airing live prime-time coverage of the 2016 presidential election on Nov. 8, according to just-released ratings data from Nielsen.

According to Nielsen, an estimated 71 million people tuned in to watch coverage of the election between 8 p.m. Eastern and 11 p.m. Eastern.

Among all households, coverage totaled 47.5 million homes, with Persons 2+ of just under 71.43 million.

Live election coverage, however, was strongest with older audiences – a possible sign that younger viewers were following the election results online, or had opted to tune out altogether as Trump’s path to victory became clearer.

Some 28.9 million viewers aged 55+ watched live prime-time coverage of the election, compared to 22.47 million viewers aged 35-64 and just 13.3 million viewers aged 18-34.

The networks included in 2016 are ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Radio One’s African American-targeted TV One and Lifetime.

Not included, compared to 2012, is PBS; it is not known as to why the public broadcaster was omitted.

In 2012 some 66.84 million viewers 2+ tuned in to live election coverage in prime-time on the first Tuesday in November.