In Depth

McCain TV Ratings Beat Obama in Preliminary Numbers

Presidential candidate John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention drew more television viewers than his rival Barack Obama attracted at the Democratic party's event last week, according to preliminary ratings from Nielsen Media Research.

Across all broadcast networks Thursday, Sen. McCain’s speech ended the night with a 4.8 rating/7 share, compared to Sen. Obama’s 4.3/7 average, according to overnight numbers from metered households in 55 U.S. markets measured by Nielsen. These ratings are preliminary, however, and are subject to change.

NBC’s coverage of Sen. McCain’s speech started directly at the tail end of the opening game of NFL season, with the speech pulling in a 6.3 rating/10 share, topping Sen. Obama’s speech last week by 26%. That lead-in may have boosted audiences who last night turned out in droves to watch Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin introduce herself to the country.

ABC’s showing of the McCain speech averaged a 4.5/7, down 2% from the same night of the Democratic convention last week, while CBS’ coverage took in a 3.4/5, an increase of 3%.

For updated numbers, click here.

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(Editor: Baumann. Updated 7:31 a.m. to add Palin in third paragraph.)