The second-to-last Democratic primary debate drew the second-largest audience for those forums.
The square-off at the University of Texas at Austin last night between Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) attracted 7.6 million viewers on average, according to fast nationals, live plus same-day data from Nielsen Media Research. The latest debate trailed only the 8.3 million viewers CNN captured for the candidates’ battle at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles on Jan. 31.
All told, CNN has registered the top six audiences with primary debates this election cycle.
Among the news demo of adults 25 to 54, the Feb. 21 debate counted 2.98 million of those watchers, again trailing only the LA debate (2.96 million) with that group. CNN has the top seven primary tallies with that demo, according to Nielsen data.
Univision also aired the Texas debate; its Nielsen performance could not be determined by press time.
Next up on the debate scene: MSNBC will host the Clinton-Obama forum from Cleveland State University on Feb. 26, marking the final such forum before the critical March 4 primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont.