CNN’s town hall event Wednesday night featuring Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and his running mate, William Weld, drew 1.6 million viewers, a 74 percent increase from the candidates’ previous CNN town hall on June 22.
The one-hour show, hosted by Anderson Cooper, was also notable for a major jump in viewership in the 25-54 demographic, which CNN says was up 101 percent and strong enough for first place in that age range for the hour on all of cable news. According to CNN’s media watchdog, Brian Stelter, the program even outperformed Fox News’ top-rated O’Reilly Factor Wednesday.
There has been increased interest in third-party alternatives for president this election cycle, largely because of the historically negative poll numbers of the two major party nominees, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
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The CNN town hall made news when Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, declared that Trump has a “screw loose.”
Currently, Johnson is averaging eight percent in four-way polls with Trump, Clinton and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, though he did make it into double digits in two of the polls.
Though it is not yet known whether the larger audience will translate to greater support, Johnson is hopeful he can reach the 15 percent he will need in five national polls to make him eligible for the presidential debates. Adding to Johnson’s chances are recent statements by Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the Commission on Presidential Debates, that he could be open to loosening the restrictions, although he did not specify exactly how much he would be willing to bend on the number of polls or the necessary 15 percent.
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