Nielsen Confirms Strong Turnout for Debate Telecast

Oct 8, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The second of three presidential debates between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain on Tuesday night was watched by 63.2 million people tuning in to 11 channels–27 million more people than saw their first debate Sept. 26, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.
That’s a reversal from 2004, when the first presidential debate was seen by 62.5 million people on six networks, while the audience for the second debate dropped to 47.7 million.
However, it’s down dramatically from the 70 million who watched last week’s vice-presidential debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden.
ABC’s coverage is three-for-three as the ratings winner on debate nights this presidential season.
During the debate itself, ABC averaged 13.2 million viewers, according to national data from Nielsen Media Research, up 20% from the first debate between the presidential candidates on Friday, Sept. 26.
NBC averaged 10.9 million viewers during the debate, up 25% from the first debate.
CBS averaged 9.4 million viewers, up 19% from the Sept. 26 debate.
CNN averaged 9.2 million viewers during the debate, up 24% from Sept. 26.
Fox News Channel’s debate telecast was seen by an average of 8.8 million people, up 7% from the first debate.
Fox Broadcast’s coverage was seen by an average 5.3 million viewers.
MSNBC averaged 3.8 million Tuesday night, down 4% from Sept. 26.
ABC also outdrew all broadcast and cable counterparts after the debate. ABC’s half-hour of analysis drew an average 9.9 million viewers.
NBC’s analysis ranked second overall with 8.4 million viewers.
CBS ranked third with 8 million.
In the half-hour following the debate, Fox edged out CNN with 7.645 million and 7.633 million viewers, respectively.
MSNBC scored 3.3 million viewers.


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