TV audience for CNN Republican presidential debate down from last week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The television audience for Thursday's restrained Republican Party presidential debate on CNN was down from last week's figures, according to preliminary Nielsen data on Friday.

The debate got an average household rating of 8.3, according to overnight data supplied by CBS television. That's well below the 11.5 rating garnered by the rowdy March 3 Republican debate, broadcast by the Fox News Channel, which translated to 16.9 million viewers.

The size of the audience in millions is expected to be available from Nielsen later on Friday.

The CNN-hosted debate at the University of Miami came days before votes in Florida and Ohio that will determine whether U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Governor John Kasich will be able to continue with their increasingly long-shot candidacies.[L1N16I1RJ]

With previous assaults on front-runner Donald Trump having failed to knock him down, Rubio and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas chose a more civil approach, raising questions about Trump's policy positions without attacking him personally.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

This article was funded in part by SAP. It was independently created by the Reuters editorial staff. SAP had no editorial involvement in its creation or production.

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