Last night’s Republican debate—which Trump skipped so he could cosplay being president—scored an 8.4 Nielsen rating, meaning that 8.4 percent of the homes Nielsen monitors watched the debate. Actual numbers aren’t available yet, but CNN’s Brian Stelter estimates that that rating will translate to 11 million-13 million viewers.
That’s actually a higher rating than the last Republican debate, which was hosted by Fox Business Network and landed a 7.4, but it’s lower than any of the other five GOP debates, which scored between 8.9 and 15.9.
We’ll (obviously) never know what those ratings would’ve been had Trump showed, but there are a number of reasons to believe that they would’ve been higher, if not significantly higher: This was a debate on a major network occurring four days before the first contest of the primary season. Viewer fatigue—this is the seventh freaking debate—may also have been a factor.
But Trump, despite all his bluster, didn’t outperform the Republican debate:
So Trump didn’t beat Fox, but he almost certainly siphoned a couple of million viewers away from the network, and he’s going to crow about it.