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The Upcoming CNN Debate: A Matter of Viewership

David Paleologos of the Suffolk University Political Research Center at the 2012 New Hampshire Republican Primary

David Paleologos has predicted the polls of viewers for the upcoming CNN Republican debate.

Who is David Paleologos

He is the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center and has been associated with the center since 2002. He has worked on conducting statewide polls and the SUPRC under his supervision has gained a lot of attention for its high accuracy. The organization works on predicting the outcomes of the polls. 

The CNN Republican debate, which is due next week at Drake University, is likely to gain less viewership according to the recent SUPRC and USA TODAY national survey. The survey concluded that the majority of the voters don’t plan to watch the debate. The minority voters willing to watch the debate show a vast disinterest of both the Republicans as well as the non-republicans. However, the ones who are likely to watch it, indicate that the debate holds more importance to the key voters for the November general election rather than Republicans and caucuses.

Most of the Republicans unwillingness to watch the debate is the absence of Donald Trump, one of the three candidates along with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Nearly 54% of Republicans have no interest in watching, mostly the supporters of Trump. On the other hand, nearly 52% of Democrats and independents also don’t have an interest in the same, ranging from different regions, gender, income, etc. 

Why isn’t the debate still a waste?

 Even with a low viewership expectancy from most of the Republicans, the debate is not a waste. Most of the important blocs for the November election have a high rate of tuning in, which will have an impact on the overall viewership but would be a success in persuading the groups. 

Trump’s absence might work in favor of Haley and DeSantis giving them the power to shape their opinions better and create an impact on the audience for the October elections, unlike the 2016 debates where Trump’s presence and views regarding national issues highly anticipated his win in the election. However, his absence is also a big risk for him the upcoming elections due to his involvement in various recent issues.

The expected viewership

According to the survey, 50% of independent women are planning to watch the debate. These women diverged from independent men during the 2022 mid-term elections and were one of the reasons behind the Democrat’s win. The two candidates need to have a clear thought process to deal with the independent women as they are easily swayed and more inclined towards Biden.

Voters who want a split in Congress stand at a 59% viewership whereas the viewers who want a sweep are less likely to watch the debate. Further division has been done between the viewers who prefer a Democratic Senate and a Republican House, standing at 64%-28% and a Democratic House and Republican Senate, standing at 54%-40%.

A split in Congress would mean a division of power, where one would control the Senate and the other the House and a sweep signifies control over the two by either the Republicans or the Democrats.

Trump’s absence- a boon 

Among the Republicans who have a sour feeling for Trump are more likely to watch, standing at 58%, whereas his supporters who stand at 53%-42%, will skip the debate.

This might turn out in the favor of Nikki as anti-trump Republicans stand at 50% who are in favor of her in comparison to Chris Christie with only 19% preference and DeSantis at 16%. The two need to figure out ways to persuade the viewership for the upcoming debate between the two.

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