Tonight’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is likely to be the most-watched presidential debate in history. A little background:

The first debate for the 1960 election drew over 66 million viewers out of a population of 179 million, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history. The 1980 debates drew 80 million viewers out of a 226 million. Recent debates have drawn decidedly smaller audiences, ranging from 46 million for the first 2000 debate to a high of over 67 million for the first debate in 2012.

There’s no shortage of ways to watch the debate, whether that’s on broadcast TV, Apple TV, Mac, iPad or iPhone – here are just a few of them …

Android, Chromecast, etc

The easiest way to watch is via one of the the broadcast TV network news apps.

ABC News – no credentials required

CBS News – no cable login or subscription required

NBC News – again, free streaming with no login needed

But there are a whole bunch of other app options out there, including Bloomberg, CNN, Reuters, Washington Post and more – with Twitter and Facebook also getting in on the action.


You have the same options on a PC via the websites of the same broadcasters. Demand is likely to be heavy, so you may want to have several tabs open with different feeds, muting the tabs you’re not watching in case one goes out and you need to switch.

ABC News

CBS News

NBC News

Reuters TV

Again, there are many more options out there. Re/code also notes that there are YouTube livestreams from many of the same sources, including Bloomberg, NBC News, PBS and The Washington Post.

Other countries

For those watching in other countries, you may get a more reliable feed from within your own country. In the UK, for example, it will be streamed live on the BBC News site. If you have recommended sites for other countries, please share them in the comments.

About the debate

Tonight’s debate takes place at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, and is moderated by NBC anchor Lester Holt. Election Central describes the format.

The first debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Next up is the vice-presidential debate on October 4, followed by the second and third presidential debates on October 9 and 19.

CBS News outlined fine things to watch for tonight, including ‘which Trump shows up.’

Pundits and political operatives alike have noted that there are two Donald Trumps in this campaign: there’s the bombastic, off-the-cuff Trump whose rhetoric at rallies has energized his base and earned him the following that secured him the Republican nomination. And then there’s teleprompter Trump: a muted, more subdued candidate who is the product of his campaign’s desire to prove that he’s a viable commander-in-chief.

At least publicly, Trump and his campaign have indicated that the candidate has not spent the same kind of extensive time on debate prep that Clinton has. Though his campaign says he has been watching old footage of Clinton’s debate appearances over the years, Trump himself has said he thinks it’s possible to prepare too much.

Will he work to show a softer, more rational (and “presidential”) side of himself Monday night? Or will Trump the entertainer be on full display?

The BBC highlighted six things that will make this a historic contest, including the ages of the candidates, the first battle between New Yorkers since 1944, Trump’s lack of political experience, the first female candidate for a major party and a surprisingly small spend by the Republicans.

If Mr Trump wins, we could be looking at the least amount of money spent by a winning candidate for some time.

Federal Election Commission records show he spent $91m (£69m) up to 22 July, of which $50m is his own money. No other candidate since Al Gore in 2000 ($126m) has spent as little. Hillary Clinton is on some $275m so far, by the way.

Of course, Mr Trump could break out the chequebook given that he has more campaigning to do between now and November, but it looks likely he will come a long way under what Barack Obama spent last time round – almost $556m.

If you want to check out the latest polling, you can do so on CNNFiveThirtyEight, Gallup, the New York Times and USA Today.

Or just check out the comprehensive roundup on RealClearPolitics.

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