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Nielsen: 56.9M Tune In to Watch Election 2020 Results

CBS News election coverage
(Image credit: Mary Kouw/CBS)

NEW YORK—Nearly 57 million people watched as ballots closed and the votes for who would be the next president of the United States—Joe Biden or Donald Trump—were counted.

Nielsen has reported that primetime coverage (8 p.m.-11 p.m. ET) of 2020 election results on Nov. 3 drew an estimated 56.9 million people across 21 networks. Those numbers are down from the 71.4 million who watched the battle between Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016.

Among all households, primetime election coverage drew an average rating of 31.2, which equates to about 37.8 million viewers. In terms of age, the largest group of viewers were 55 and older, with more than 27.7 million viewers (rating of 29.4); 35-54 year olds followed with an average of nearly 17.5 million viewers (rating of 22), then 18-34 year olds came in at an average of almost 7.7 million viewers (rating of 10.9).

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From 2016, the number is down by about a million among those 55 and older (28.9 million in 2016), but there were bigger drops in the 35-54 age group (22.5 million total viewers in 2016) and 18-34 (13.3 million in 2016).

The 2020 Nielsen numbers do include out-of-home viewing and connected TV viewing. Contribution from CTVs, per Nielsen, can be as much as 11% for televised political events.

See Nielsen’s report online