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Joe Biden checks out a classic car at the end of a voter mobilization event at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Novi, Mich., yesterday. Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Joe Biden not only crushed President Trump in ratings for their head-to-head town halls, Biden was a bigger draw for an earlier pairing of network town halls.

By the numbers: Biden had a bigger combined audience for town halls on ABC + NBC than Trump did for his ABC and NBC town halls. Biden drew 20.8 million for the two town halls combined, while Trump had 17.3 million.

Here's the breakdown, from Nielsen, via AP (omits streaming):

  • Biden's ABC town hall with George Stephanopoulos on Thursday reached 14.1 million people between 8 and 9 p.m. (when the 90-minute event was head to head with NBC).
  • Trump's NBC town hall with Savannah Guthrie on Thursday had 13.5 million viewers (NBC: 10.9 million, MSNBC: 1.8 million, CNBC: 720,000).
  • Biden's NBC town hall with Lester Holt on Oct. 5: 6.7 million (includes NBC, MSNBC, CNBC; NBC only was 3.85 million).
  • Trump's ABC town hall with Stephanopoulos on Sept. 15: 3.8 million people.

Axios' Sara Fischer, who tracks this closely, notes: Biden's town hall with CNN on Sept. 17, two days after Trump's ABC town hall, drew fewer viewers than Trump — 3.3 million, to Trump's 3.8 million on the broadcast network.

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Go deeper

Oct 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

Over 16 million tuned into "60 Minutes" interviews with Trump and Biden

More than 16.82 million people tuned into Sunday evening's "60 Minutes" episode featuring interviews with President Trump and Joe Biden, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: It's the largest audience for a television broadcast, excluding multi-channel and sports programming, since the Academy Awards on Feb. 9.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.