Fox’s Republican Debate Ratings Disaster: 50% Drop Since 2016 Election

Fox News’ first GOP primary debate received a terrible response from American television viewers, with the broadcast losing around half the audience of Fox’s 2016 kickoff debate numbers.

According to Nielsen, an estimated 12.8 million people watched the Republican debate last Wednesday on Fox, a decline of almost 50% from the over 24 million people who tuned in when now-former President Donald Trump appeared in his first presidential debate in 2015.

The “Trump effect” was also witnessed in January 2016 when he skipped the GOP primary debate hosted by Fox News that he also skipped. That debate only drew about 12.5 million viewers.

The former president said he boycotted the debate last week for several reasons, including his substantial lead over other Republican rivals in the polls.

Trump has also expressed disappointment the GOP National Committee awarded the first two debates to Fox News, a network he says has been openly hostile toward him.

Fox’s chairman, billionaire Rupert Murdoch, claimed in a 2021 email that he was seeking to make Trump a “non-person.” The network has openly supported Ron DeSantis’ candidacy for the 2024 primary.

In the meantime, the former president has praised conservative Newsmax and appeared regularly on the network.

At a July Turning Point conference, Trump mentioned Fox News which drew widespread boos from the conservative audience. He then plugged Newsmax, praising the network, saying, “Greg Kelly over at Newsmax — the Newsmax people have been really, really terrific,” said Trump. “Newsmax has been terrific.”

On social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson currently has 261 million views.

Fox News audience has fallen since the firing of Tucker Carlson

Fox’s audience has fallen since the network fired Carlson, its number one prime-time host, last April.

According to Nielsen, the move has led to a significant drop in ratings for Fox. The network dropped 23% in total audience across the day, year-over-year.

In the meantime, Newsmax has seen a 50% increase in total audience size across the day during the same period.
A recent McLaughlin national poll of GOP voters asked if Carlson’s departure made it less likely or more likely they would “trust Fox News.”

Only 8% of respondents said they were more likely to trust Fox, and a substantial 44% said they were less likely to trust Fox after the firing of Tucker.

The former president posted on Truth Social, his social media website, earlier this week to slam his 2024 GOP rivals, writing: “New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by “legendary” numbers. TRUMP 62%, 46 Points above DeSanctimonious (who is crashing like an ailing bird!), Ramaswamy 7%, Pence 5%, Scott 3%, Haley 2%, Sloppy Chris Christie 2%, “Aida” Hutchinson 1%.”

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more. I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

In June, while speaking with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Trump discussed his reluctance to attend the Republican primary debate, saying: “Why would I allow people at 1 or 2 percent and 0 percent to be hitting me with questions all night?”

Candidates featured in the debate included former Vice President Mike Pence, former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.