At some point voters were likely to tire of watching Republican presidential candidates debate, and after a dozen debates it is apparent that they may have reached their limit.
The ratings for the last GOP debate, on March 10, averaged 11,854,000 viewers. That was the lowest number for a CNN hosted debate and a sharp drop off from the more than 18 million viewers who saw the last CNN/GOP debate in December. It was also the second lowest-rated debate of this cycle.
While that’s still a far larger audience than CNN normally attracts, it has to be disappointing, as the race has now shifted into its final phase. There are four candidates remaining, and a good chance that it will be down to just two after Tuesday’s primaries.
Even though the last debate included Donald Trump—who has been largely responsible for the huge interest in the debates—it was a pretty muted affair, with the candidates deciding to be more civil towards each other. Also, there was more focus on issues, but that also meant that it lacked the fireworks of the previous debates, which drew tremendous viewership.
At this point there is probably little need for any more than a couple more debates, with just the top two contenders. At that point the networks should give it a rest until both parties have officially nominated their candidates.
Photo by Jason A G