NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. — During their debate Monday night, Hillary Clinton said her Republican opponent Donald Trump would try to blame her for everything that has ever happened. But both candidates can take responsibility for the fact that their verbal smackdown drew the largest audience ever for a televised presidential debate.
Nielsen reports the debate viewership drew in 84 million viewers on television, spread over the dozen or so channels airing the debate. The previous record was the 80.6 million people who saw the 1980 debate between Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter and his Republican challenger Ronald Regan.
However, on the campus of Westminster College several students told us they didn’t bother watching.
“I don’t like either candidate,” said one student. “I’m not voting, so I didn’t want to watch.”
We discovered many students watched the debate as interested voters. But in the unscientific sample of about 50 students, only 8 said they watched. Most said they didn’t care to watch.
Our reporter also discovered several students were watching in groups, but they were participating in the Presidential Debate Drinking Game. The game, sparked by a social media meme, quickly went viral before and during the debate. Some of the students we talked to discussed the game. A few joked they participated, but also indicated they were not serious.
Our cameras went in search of students who would be willing to go on camera and share their debate reactions. Some were eager to share, while others were more guarded. International Business major Macaya Yao told us she thought Clinton did well.
“I think she was well prepared,” Yoa said. “Donald Trump, in the beginning, seemed well prepared. But toward the end he showed it’s easy for him to get angry.
“I think Hillary came off as very presidential as usual,” said Michael Angiolelli, a Political Science major. “We had a lot of fluff comments from Trump.”
Tump has his supporters in WC’s student body. Some revealed they did watch the debate and they found it interesting to watch the dynamic between Clinton and Trump and they saw Trump as the winner.
“I know who I’m voting for- Trump,” Business Administration, Paul Columbo told us.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.