Fox News Pulls 9.5M Viewers for Second Debate

By Jerry McConway, updated on September 29, 2023

For people who think nobody is interested in the challengers to Donald Trump, they got it wrong.

The second debate was the highest-rated show on cable news Wednesday night, pulling down 9.5 million viewers.

Talking Points…

  • The debate by the numbers
  • Debate feedback
  • Trump comments on the debate
  • My Two Cents…

Debate Numbers

Cable news ratings have been slipping for years, so Fox News' numbers for the GOP debate were pretty impressive.

The debate drew 9,323,000 viewers, with almost 1.9 million in the 25-54 demographic.

This was the highest-rated debate since the 2016 season and had numbers that were better than the majority of debates in both 2016 and 2020.

This was a huge win for Fox News.

Debate Feedback

Candidates need to stop acting like children. They had a fantastic opportunity to make a good impression on voters, but they came off as petulant.

This bickering and shouting over each other is childish, and had I not been writing about the debate, I would have turned it off.

Having said that, I thought DeSantis made a good impression, but he did get stumped on Florida insurance numbers, so he should have been prepped better.

He also needs to be more vocal about his position on fracking and drilling, as his actions on this are documented, but they were being a bit misconstrued by Haley.

If I were DeSantis, I would own and explain the position he took at the time, and I think voters will understand, but just telling your opponent that is not true or they are lying will not fly with most voters.

I think Haley did a decent job, but she came unraveled at times, and the rest of the field was a dud to me.

Ramaswamy makes me want to vomit every time he opens his mouth. He is just a grifter, and he has no right to be up on that stage.

Donald Trump Comments

Trump got hit pretty good in this debate, but that was to be expected since he skipped it again.

After the debate was over, Trump stated:

"I thought it was much more important, considering I have a 56-point lead, for me to be dealing with the UAW and the fact that the Biden administration is going to destroy their jobs over the next two years by going all electric vehicle."

Trump's rally backfired, however. He held the rally to support union workers at a non-union shop with only a handful of UAW union members on hand. He is not getting blasted by union members who are furious he used a non-union shop to make his speech.

Trump then went on Truth Social to call for an end to the debates.

He posted:

"President Trump has a 40- or 50-point lead in the primary election and a 10-point lead over Joe Biden in the general election, and it's clear that President Trump alone can defeat Biden.

"The RNC should immediately put an end to any further primary debates so we can train our fire on Crooked Joe Biden and quit wasting time and money that could be going to evicting Biden from the White House."

This too fell flat with many on social media, with some calling Trump "undemocratic" for not wanting the debates to go on.

Trump also failed to point out that his numbers against Biden dramatically change if he is convicted of a felony, with roughly 70% of voters saying they would not pull the handle for him if that is the case, which would then hand the presidency over to Biden.

Also, since that ABC News-Washington Post poll came out that had Trump ahead by 10 points, four more polls have been released:

So, clearly, the ABC-WaPo poll was, in fact, an outlier, as this race remains just about dead even.

My Two Cents…

Trump is coming off as worried over the performance of this debate, and I think not debating him is going to eventually take a toll on his support.

Again, I doubt it will cost him the election on its own, but if he makes any missteps along the way, together, this could impact his lead significantly.

The fact he stated that DeSantis was not worth his time to debate was picked up on, and it just not going over the way that Trump wanted it to.

This is literally David standing outside of Goliath's home daring him to come out for a fight, and Goliath is the one staying inside.

If Trump really wants to put DeSantis away, why not face him down and bury him? That is the question voters who have not made up their minds are asking today.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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