The upcoming 2024 election is about to heat up, as the first of two planned presidential debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is set to air on CNN on June 27. What can consumer data tell us about plans to follow the presidential debate? Here are three key insights to know ahead of the event.

How Americans Will Watch

Exclusive data from CivicScience reveal that just over 4-in-10 U.S. adults plan to watch or listen to some or all of the debate as it broadcasts live on CNN next week, with an additional 12% intending to catch the debate after it airs. That brings total intended viewership to just over half of the population. The other half is split between those who will be following coverage of the event in the news and those who don’t plan to follow the debate at all.

Nearly equal percentages of Democrat and Republican voters will be tuning in, with Republicans slightly more likely to watch the debate live. Those who lean independent or moderate are more of a wild card.

Get a deeper read on the data with the latest CivicScience Election Mindset Tracker.

Cast Your Vote: How important do you think it is to have presidential debates before the 2024 presidential election?

Streamers and Young Adults Less Likely to Watch Live

Many will be tuning into CNN for the live debate, but how they’ll get there varies. Viewers are most likely to be consumers that typically watch live TV via cable, satellite, or Telco services, making up close to half of the likely viewer base. Those who watch live TV through streaming services make up a smaller portion of next week’s viewers.

This goes hand-in-hand with additional data that show younger audiences (under 35), who are more likely than older adults to have cut the cord on cable for streaming, are the least likely to watch the debate live. In fact, the percentage of the under-35 crowd who will watch or listen to the debate after it airs, or just plan to follow news about it instead, outnumbers those who plan to watch it live.

The debate is also likely to attract a percentage of those who don’t typically watch live television, as well as those who watch live TV with an antenna (and who will have to find another way to tune into CNN).

For more about how marketers and advertisers can reach antenna viewers, check out the CivicScience Over-the-Air Audience Tracker.

Additional insights to know:

  • Consumers who prefer to watch CNN for national news are the most likely to follow the debate live (59%), although Fox News viewers are not far behind (56%).
  • Wealthier earners ($100K or more yearly) are significantly more likely than lower-income earners ($50K or less yearly) to watch the live debate or follow the debate at all.
  • Americans who are concerned about inflation are twice as likely to tune into the live debate compared to those who are not concerned, ranking as the top election issue voters are following.

Weigh In: Do you think President Biden or former President Trump will win their first debate on June 27?

How Undecided Voters Will Follow the Debate

Undecided voters are going to play a key role in the 2024 presidential rematch. While two-thirds plan to follow the debate in some way, just 31% of those undecided on their presidential vote are planning to watch the live broadcast. People decided on their vote for either Trump or Biden are far more likely to watch the live debate and follow it in general, suggesting the showdown is more important to these folks than those still on the fence.

Undecided voters are a needle in the haystack, and reaching them across multiple platforms is increasingly challenging. CivicScience’s always-on polling and first-party data solutions capture and track key audiences in real-time, including topics and concerns driving voter behavior, to power high-performing ad campaigns.