Updated 7:11 p.m. ET
The ABC News/Yahoo Republican presidential primary debate on
Saturday night drew nearly 7.6 million total viewers from 9-11 p.m.,
according to Nielsen fast national ratings, making it the most-watched debate yet of this election
The previous frontrunner was Fox News' GOP debate on Sept.
22, which drew 6.1 million total viewers.
Fox News will host another debate on Dec. 16 from Sioux City, Iowa. ABC News' debate also delivered 2.1 million viewers in the target adults 25-54 demo, which was also a 2012 cycle high. The MSNBC debate on Sept. 7 was the previous leader in the demo with 1.7 million viewers.
Saturday's debate from Des Moines, moderated by ABC's Diane
Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, was the second debate to air on broadcast
TV this cycle, and topped CBS News' Nov. 12 debate by 1.4 million viewers.
The ABC News debate likely drew increased attention because
it was the first since Newt Gingrich became the new Republican frontrunner and because
it took place in Iowa weeks before the first-in-the-nation caucuses there on Jan. 3.