Gary Johnson

Huge Ratings Uptick for CNN's Second Libertarian Town Hall, As 1.6 Million Tune In

Gary Johnson, Bill Weld capture highest ratings for 25-54 demographic on cable news Wednesday night.

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Screenshot via CNN

The Libertarian Party Town Hall event hosted by CNN on Wednesday night was the highest rated show on cable news in the coveted 25-54 demographic for the night.

More than 1.6 million viewers tuned in to the hour-long event featuring Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and vice presidential candidate William Weld.

Perhaps more important than the raw numbers is the massive uptick in viewership for Wednesday's event compared to a similar Libertarian Town Hall discussion hosted by CNN on June 22. Overall viewership was up 74 percent and viewership in the 25-54 demographic increased by 101 percent—more than doubling the "in demographic" audience for the first town hall with Johnson and Weld, CNN reported Thursday.

The Libertarian Town Hall outperformed CNN's usual programing in the 9pm slot. Anderson Cooper, who served as host and moderator for the discussion with Johnson and Weld, got 1.3 million viewers for his show in the same time slot on Tuesday night and only 1.1 million viewers for the same hour on Monday.

The big numbers caught the attention of media analyst Brian Stelter, who notes that the Libertarian Town Hall even beat ratings beast Bill O'Reilly on Wednesday.

It's likely that Wednesday's event was the largest TV audience ever for a Libertarian Party presidential candidate. That shouldn't be a surprise, considering how many Americans are fed up with the binary political system, in general, and with the two choices coughed up by that binary political system this year, in particular.

Johnson is averaging 8 percent in four-way polls with Trump, Clinton and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. He cracked 10 percent in two polls released this week, both taken before Wednesday's event.

It's too soon to know whether the Town Hall will help Johnson in the polls, but Wednesday's ratings and previous polls show many Americans are looking for an alternative.

Did Johnson and Weld give their 1.6 million viewers that alternative?

They came off as a "sensible alternative" to Clinton and Trump, writes Reason editor in chief Nick Gillespie. "Johnson and Weld were calm, optimistic, and straightforward in how they answered questions from moderator Anderson Cooper and various audience members."

But there were some slip-ups. While Johnson and Weld succeeding in seeming "human, humane, decent, calm, and at least compared to their major party competitors, thoughtful," Reason senior editor Brian Doherty says they didn't do a great job of articulating actual Libertarian positions on some issues, pushing instead a centrist, anti-partisan message.

For Reason's full recap of the second Libertarian Town Hall on CNN, watch here:

NEXT: Anthony Fisher on Stossel Tonight, Talking Weiner and the Pathetic Lives of Politicians

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  1. 1.6 Million Tune In To See Johnson At CNN Town Hall

    1. Well, did he rise to the occasion? It has been a long, hard time in coming. If Johnson can stick it in the other two we could see an epic climax. It might get sticky. And there will be shockers along the way. But stroking the cat of luck Johnson can cream the dogs in style.

      1. Way to bogart, dude.

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  3. So, from this, I can infer that about 8% of the USA are grown adults who can take care of themselves and want to be left alone, while another 50-60% or so are scared shitless, either from scarcity or terrorists, and the other 30% is trying to make up their mind about which way to go.

    I am disappoint.

    1. And they know far more about Kartrashian’s ass crack than any actual difference among political parties.

      Stupid [Gruber] voters are made for domination and micro management; they actually want it that way.

    2. You may be a little more than half right, because that’s about how many voters don’t even bother to go to the polls.

  4. Does he not have any money? I have been seeing a bunch of Jill Stein ads on TV here in Iowa. Still not a single Gary Johnson ad. He might want to try to get his name out there more than this..

  5. Far better performance than the first one. They need to practice these more, should do several a week. Also my advice to Johnson: If you have to laugh at your own joke, it means you know it isn’t funny. Just don’t.

    1. For what it’s worth, I think he looks less fringey when he seems to be enjoying himself. The thing he really wants to avoid isn’t the laughing, it’s this face.

  6. Looks like people are so fed up with the Rep/Dem choice that a whopping 8% “say” they’ll possibly vote for someone else. If the election looks like a runaway. And they weren’t going to vote for the person winning anyway. And something else doesn’t come up.

  7. While Johnson and Weld succeeding in seeming “human, humane, decent, calm, and at least compared to their major party competitors, thoughtful,” Reason senior editor Brian Doherty says they didn’t do a great job of articulating actual Libertarian positions on some issues, pushing instead a centrist, anti-partisan message.

    One of these things may have something to do with the other. National politics has been narrowed to the 40-yard lines. All welfare programs are sacred institutions and not one cent of federal spending can ever be cut.

    The cultural issues may seem like extreme indulgences (bathroom designations upended, all Muslims lumped together, bakers subjugated, exporting millions of illegals, baby parts for sale), but these are low-stakes debates. They generate a lot of heat but not much fire. A lot of people are perfectly happy to scream at one another over their pet peeves, but the real institutions, the numerous third rails of our society, are effective baked in forever.

    Reforming entitlement spending is kicked off till doomsday. The meltdown among poor whites and blacks and Mexicans has been turned into a triparte race war rather than a moratorium for rampant welfarism. Obamacare is never going away, premiums will continue rising, service quality will decline, and nationalized healthcare is an inevitability. Ours is the age of managed decline. RIP America, we hardly knew ye.

    1. It’ll end, one way or another.

    2. Who knows, maybe political masochism will come into fashion and voters will find themselves turned on by a ruthless budget-cutting statesman who hurls well-deserved base at them as he takes away grandma’s social security to reduce the deficit?

  8. 1.6M? If CNN thought they could do that again, they’d do it tomorrow. That’s more eyeballs than see Wolf Blitzer in a week. Especially if you don’t count captive airport viewers.

  9. “Hi, CNN? This is the chair of the DNC. That libertarian town hall you just had? You need to knock that off. Yes, I know you got a lot of viewers. That’s the problem! Those nutjobs will steal our votes! Those votes are ours I tell ya! Focus on the glories of the Two Party System, how it will bring Utopia!”

    “Hi, CNN? This is the chair of the RNC. No, the RNC not the DNC; they called you a few minutes ago. We flipped a coin while we were at the cocktail party and they got to go first. Anyway: That libertarian town hall you just had? You need to knock that off. Yes, I know you got a lot of viewers. That’s the problem! Those nutjobs will steal our votes! Those votes are ours I tell ya! Focus on the glories of the Two Party System, how it will bring Utopia!”

    1. Implied: Or else we spend our ad budget with other people and freeze out your reporters.

      1. And keep the carnival sideshow going where we convince half the voters that the Democrats will ruin everything if they do not vote for us, and Dems do vice-versa. Then we all get to keep our jobs and bennies while the debt just goes ever more ballistic and we kick the can down the road for the next gen to deal with.

    2. ROFL

  10. The Republicans are going to encourage a mass defection from Trump to Johnson. Then, after the LP’s astounding upset victory, they’ll have Johnson bumped off (pneumonia from his triumphal walk to the White House), and we’ll have the Republican President we always wanted.

    1. Doesn’t even require that. If Trump Clinton split close enough on electorals Johnson could throw it to the house with 1 -2 states. Then the House’s more small government folks will align with the anti-trumpers to put in GayJay.

        1. Mine too. Highly unlikely to happen.

          Corruption rules the roost in Congress. we’re more likely to see defections from the GOP to Hillary than to Johnson.

  11. We also need to remember that we are in August, in the middle of the summer.
    Schools are out, families are on vacation etc ..

  12. My 78yr old aunt watched the Town Hall and she said Johnson is now her choice. Of course today at lunch when she said that another of my aunts declared the old “You can’t do that, you’re wasting your vote!”.

  13. RE: Huge Ratings Uptick for CNN’s Second Libertarian Town Hall, As 1.6 Million Tune In
    Gary Johnson, Bill Weld capture highest ratings for 25-54 demographic on cable news Wednesday night.

    One must seriously question the credibility of CNN after allowing a third party, especially a political party that openly advocates financial freedom, being left alone and adhering to the archaic US Constitution. CNN would be better served not employing the First Amendment. On the contrary, the network would be much wiser in following both Trump the Grump and his new brand of fascism or Heil Hitlary and her magnificent program of socialist slavery. It is a sad day indeed when a major news broadcasting entity chooses to cover a political party that favors freedom over those who are desperately doing their best to continue the judicious policies of The State to further enslave the unwashed masses. This exposure will only confuse the lowly plebian class into questioning what is best for them, how to improve their appointed socio-economic stations our ruling class elites have so conveniently put us in and how to improve their miserable and meaningless lives. Needless to say, this exposure the LP only further the argument for a State controlled mass media so the little people will be able to vote for the correct political parties and their candidates.
    It is a sad day one over a million and half people are able to listen to contrary opinions from the republican and democratic parties.

    1. Uncle Jay, again speaking for the anti-gummint wing which, led by Ron Paul, has caused the libertarian brand to be rejected by 91% of libertarians. (Cato/Zogby survey)

      Now that the window is open, can we capture the “Nolan libertarians” we’ve cast aside for impurity, their failure to be “True Belebers?”

      “Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers.”
      -Eric Hoffer, The True Believers (1957)

      Throughout human history, the worst abuses have been committed by those who’ve been brainwashed into believing they’re fighting for some “greater good” — the Collective, the State, the Master Race, the Party, a God, Limited Government or a gazillion other Cults. The militant self-righteous.

      .

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