Jun 27, 2019

First Democratic debate draws over 15 million live viewers

A box of popcorn sits next to reporters as they watch Democratic presidential candidate. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

More than 15 million tuned in on live television to the first Democratic debate on Wednesday, according to NBC. Many more watched via streaming or followed along on social media. 

Why it matters: The debate had a strong performance compared to what network executives had predicted, but it still came shy of the viewership for both the Republican and Democratic opening primary debates in 2015.

By the numbers: Wednesday night’s debate, the first of two this week, drew 15.3 million live viewers across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. The first Republican primary debate in August 2015, which featured Donald Trump on the political debate stage for the first time, received over 24 million live viewers. The first Democratic debate in October 2015 garnered over 15.5 million. 

Between the lines: Millions of people also watched the debate via streaming, although those numbers are hard to compare to live TV views. NBC says that it estimates 9 million people streamed the debates in its digital channels. 

The big picture: Social media also plays a big role in amplifying key moments during political debates.

  • Elizabeth Warren got the most attention on social media during the debate, according to social analytics company Sprout Social. 
  • A few heated moments between former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro seemed to pick up steam on social media as well.
  • In the end, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker got the most speaking time during the debate, followed by O’Rourke, Warren and Klobuchar, per NPR.

Go deeper: Highlights from the first Democratic presidential primary debate

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,682,389 — Total deaths: 354,944 — Total recoveries — 2,337,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,697,459 — Total deaths: 100,271 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Business: African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs saysDisney plans phased reopening on July 11Author Ann Patchett says bookstores are innovating to stay connected with customers.
  5. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  6. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.