Iowa Caucus Viewership On Three Major News Networks Down From Recent Cycles; Fox News Tops Coverage

Turnout for the Iowa caucuses was down, and so was viewership. Early numbers show that interest was down considerably from 2020 and, before that, from 2016, with about 4.67 million watching primetime coverage across Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

That’s compared to the 8.5 million who watched the caucus coverage on the three networks in 2020 and the 10.2 million who watched in 2016, when both parties had competitive races.

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The coverage faced competition from the NFL playoff game on ABC and the Emmy awards on Fox.

Fox News topped primetime coverage with 2.83 million viewers, followed by MSNBC with 1.15 million and CNN with 688,006.

In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 402,391, compared to CNN with 193,817 and MSNBC with 142,521.

During the 8-9 p.m. ET hour, when networks projected Donald Trump as the winner, Fox News averaged 2.9 million, followed by MSNBC with 1.19 million and CNN with 848,266. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 427,960, followed by CNN with 223,707 and MSNBC with 143,242.

The numbers are from Nielsen via Fox News. Final numbers could change, albeit not enough to impact the overall trend of a viewership decline from previous cycles.

The caucus numbers do not include figures from smaller networks like NewsNation and Newsmax, or coverage on broadcast streaming services like ABC News Live, NBC News Now and CBS News Streaming. Broadcast networks did do special primetime reports on the results, but left ongoing coverage to their streaming channels.

Fox News’ caucus coverage was up 7% versus 2012, when 2.64 million watched the network in primetime. CNN’s coverage this year was off by 48% compared to that year, when 1.33 million watched. MSNBC in 2012 averaged 1.2 million, down 4%. Primetime viewership across all three networks that year was 5.17 million.

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