NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Record TV ratings for primary debates gave way to record ratings for coverage of the Iowa caucuses on Monday night.
CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC saw big spikes in viewership, driven by two primary questions: “Will Donald Trump lose to Ted Cruz?” and “Will Hillary Clinton lose to Bernie Sanders?”
Trump lost. Clinton barely won. Television clearly won.
CNN ranked No. 1 among 25- to 54-year-olds, the key demographic for news advertisers. Fox News ranked No. 1 among total viewers, owing to the fact that most cable news viewers are older.
In a press release, CNN said it had the “highest rated Iowa caucuses in CNN and cable news history, among adults 25-54.”
This means Monday night’s coverage surpassed the historic night in January 2008 when Barack Obama beat Clinton in Iowa.
On that night in 2008, CNN averaged 2.20 million viewers in prime time, 894,000 of whom were ages 25 to 54.
On Monday night, CNN averaged 3.73 million viewers in prime time, with 1.39 million in the demo.
Fox News averaged 4.46 million viewers on Monday night, with 1.16 million in the demo. MSNBC came in third place with 1.97 million viewers and 592,000 in the demo.
Viewership was also up across the board compared with the caucus night in 2012, when 2.63 million viewers watched Fox News and 1.31 million watched CNN, and 1.19 million watched MSNBC.
Web traffic was also elevated on Monday night as people sought out information about the Iowa results.
CNN’s politics web site had “its third best day in history,” according to the company, behind election night 2012 and the day after that election night.
The high levels of interest paralleled high levels of turnout in Iowa. The state GOP set a new record in terms of turnout.