Donald Trump speech beat Hillary Clinton in TV viewership: Nielsen

Just over 100 days before the election, Americans are being asked to choose between two sharply polarised visions and between two monumentally unpopular candidates. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Pennsylvania, US Jul 30, 2016, 04.06 AM (IST)

Donald Trump pulled off the upset at least in television popularity.

The Nielsen company estimated that 29.8 million people watched Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night on the commercial networks. That fell short of the 32.2 million people who watched Trump speak to the Republicans a week before.

"We beat her by millions on television. Millions!" Trump said yesterday during a campaign appearance in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"Honestly, the numbers were incredible." Ratings for the final night ran counter to the trend of the past two weeks.

The Democratic event, packed with celebrities and well-received speeches by President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton, had reached more viewers than the Republicans for each of the first three nights of their respective conventions. In fact, viewership for the Democrats' first night slightly exceeded Thursday night's count.

Meanwhile, viewership for Trump's acceptance speech was 9 million more than for any other night of the Republican convention.

Nielsen's count did not include PBS' commercial-free coverage, which made the margin closer. PBS said its viewership for Clinton's speech was 3.91 million people, and 2.75 million the week earlier for Trump.

Viewership of Clinton's speech on Fox News Channel was less than a third of what it was for Trump's address, Nielsen said. An estimated 9.4 million watched Trump on Fox, whose audience is dominated by Republicans. Fox had 3 million viewers for Clinton.

One of the most divisive US campaigns in modern history is entering a new chapter with Republicans and Democrats having selected their nominees, leaving the candidates slogging it out before Election Day on November 8.

Clinton followed her historic acceptance speech on Thursday as the first woman presidential nominee for a major party with a rally in Philadelphia before embarking on a bus tour of Rust Belt states Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The 68-year-old Democrat portrays Trump as a threat to democracy, seeking to woo moderate Republicans repelled by the former reality TV star and shore up a coalition with progressives on the left of her party.

When it comes to voter intentions, Trump and Clinton are in a statistical dead heat, according to the most recent poll average from RealClearPolitics.