Ratings for the U.S. presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump haven’t been released but it could go down as the most viewed debate ever.
In the hours before the debate is was predicted between 75 to 100 million Americans would tune in.
Those are numbers usually reserved for the Super Bowl, now presidential debates. The 2016 Super Bowl attracted 111.1 million viewers while the last debate held in 2012 between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney attracted 59.2 million viewers.
In 2012, the first round reached 67.2 million overall audience members, which was actually the most registered by Nielsen since Oct. 15, 1992 (69.9 million), when George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot took the stage.
The record for the most watched debate dates back to Oct. 28, 1980 when Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan held their only television debate of the year and set a still-standing presidential debate record with 80.6 million total viewers.
The debate attracted interest from outside the U.S. with Canadians and American expats in particular tuning in. Democrats Abroad organized viewing parties across the country, there were no publicized plans for similar viewing parties by Republicans Abroad.
American expats in London gathered at Joe Kool’s Restaurant to watch the debate, with many coming away with the opinion Hillary Clinton won the head-to-head matchup.
“Hands down Hillary won the debate tonight,” said one on-looker, “I don’t think Trump had anything of substance to say,” said another.
Some viewers didn’t mince any words when speaking about Trump’s performance.
“Donald Trump speaks in such an incoherent manner that even if he were to have good points, which he doesn’t, he would never be able to communicate it to anybody,” said one woman.
Others were giddy at how well they felt Clinton performed.
“Hillary killed it! He was like a five-year-old child, it was amazing, it couldn’t have gone any better,” exclaimed another woman.
Early polls following the first of three presidential debates point to Hillary Clinton coming out ahead of Donald Trump in Monday night’s face off.
According to a CNN/ORC poll taken immediately after the debate wrapped, 62 per cent of 521 registered voters who watched the debate said Clinton won, compared to 27 per cent for Trump. Public Policy Polling also had Clinton trumping Trump, but by a more narrow margin of 51 per cent to 40 per cent.
Regardless of what polls and pundits have to say, both sides will likely see themselves as having scored a win, according to Dr. Paul Quirk, the Phil Lind Chair in U.S. Politics and Representation at the University of British Columbia.
But if there’s a big takeaway, it could be that practice is the big winner of the night.
“It was clear that preparation obviously paid [off],” Quirk told Global News. “[Clinton] was able to make points in a much more organized and effective way…Trump appeared to be repetitive and rambling.”
WATCH: Donald Trump argues with moderator Lester Holt over support of Iraqi war
Moving forward, he said, the Trump campaign is going to have to reassess just how much the Republican nominee puts into his debate prep.
But he said it’s not clear that Trump has the patience he needs to buckle down and study all the briefing notes and reports to better handle questions on policy – something that’s been seen as one of his weaknesses throughout his campaign.
Clinton’s campaign made no secret that she was taking time off to prepare for tonight’s faceoff, including taking part in mock debates, while Trump’s campaign was open about him not preparing nearly as much as his rival.
That’s something Clinton made note of after a comment from Trump about her taking time off the campaign trail.
“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate,” she said. “And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be President. And that is a good thing.”
WATCH: Clinton slams Trump saying she’s been preparing to be president
Quirk expects Clinton will see a bit of a boost in the popularity polls in the coming days, just like she did following the Democratic National Convention, but he believes she’s got work to do as well.
“If she can come across in a way that makes her a little more personable and likeable, and if she could address the concerns people have about trusting her… those would be the aspirations for the next debate.”