CNN recently hosted a Libertarian town hall with Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. As I covered in this article, the event went off pretty smoothly, with only few qualms. But the question for many who are voting for him is whether or not it helped Johnson’s cause. Did anyone watch?
According to TVNewser, people did watch, and en masse.
CNN enjoyed 1.6 million viewers tuning in to watch Johnson and Weld talk about the issues. In fact, according to CNN, it beat out both Fox News and MSNBC in viewers 25-54.
This is a big increase from Johnson and Weld’s last town hall, which reached around 900,000 viewers. That’s is a 74% increase in total, and a 101% increase in the 25-54 category.
It even beat out Bill O’ Reilly in the aforementioned demographic…
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 5, 2016
Whether it helped or not, only the polls can reveal. However, if the amount of viewership of that many people in the voting bloc is any indication, then it’s likely their thirst for an alternative to the horrible showing by two mainstream parties was somewhat quenched. Johnson did have something for everyone, including a demeanor that seemed far more mature than Trump, and far more trustworthy than Hillary.
The Commission on Presidential Debates head, Frank Fahrenkopf, has said he may give a 3rd party candidate wiggle room to appear on the debate stage without reaching the 15% in 5 polls required by the commission. While he didn’t specify how far he’s willing to go, hopefully this town hall will boost Johnson’s numbers enough to earn him a spot.
Regardless, it’s this kind of publicity that Johnson needs to let people know that there’s a dark horse in the race, and that they can break from the duopoly that so many feel trapped by.