One thing is clear after last week’s GOP Debate and Monday night’s Iowa caucuses: Trump apparently blew it. Republican Ted Cruz bested the billionaire frontrunner, raising questions about Trump’s reliance on his celebrity and manipulation of the media in lieu of traditional political strategies and playing nice with the networks. And Marco Rubio’s stronger-than-expected showing could mark him as the establishment’s best hope against a grassroots revolt in next week’s New Hampshire primary and beyond.
Trump’s defeat won’t necessarily derail his campaign, but if you look back at the GOP debate last week– the one that Trump decided to skip– the tell-tale viewership and engagement numbers may show how he fell short on Monday night in Iowa.
Samba TV, a leader in the real-time TV analytics space, looked at audience behavior and retention compared to the previous debates, and found that the data tells a much more complex story than the one-dimensional rating slump that was reported.
Overall debate viewership has slumped compared to the media circus that Trump drummed up in the early face-offs with his political opponents but you can see the slight uptick without him in the last one.
With their caucus top of mind, Iowans were all ears when the other candidates took the stage for the Trump-less debate, with a higher retention rate than national viewers through hour two of Thursday’s night’s spectacle.
Trump’s loyalist viewers perhaps didn’t tune in to Fox News for the debate he boycotted, but those on the fence were clearly engaged and listening to Cruz and Rubio who held center stage.
Simultaneously, Trump’s poll figures and caucus results showed a significant downtick, while Cruz and Rubio showed significant upticks.