Palin-Biden Outdraws Obama-McCain in TV Debate Ratings

Oct 3, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Biden-Palin vice-presidential debate Thursday night drew a bigger audience than last week’s debate between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Biden-Palin Vice-Presidential Debate
Nearly 45% of all households in Nielsen’s top 55 markets watched the debates, up 42% from the presidential debate. Baltimore had the highest amount of viewing households, with a 59.1 rating, while Los Angeles had the least out of the top markets with a 34.4.
ABC attracted and held the largest audience of the broadcast networks for the 90-minute vice presidential debate and half hour of analysis that followed.
According to the preliminary data, which will change later today when the time-zone adjustments are made, showed that ABC averaged 11.8 million viewers from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 10.3 million for the 10 p.m.-11 p.m. hour. That was up slightly from the 11.4 million who watched last week’s first of three presidential debate.
NBC averaged 11.6 million viewers for the first hour and 9.8 million viewers for the second hour. That was up from NBC’s audience of 7.2 million who watched the presidential debate last week.
CBS averaged 11.4 million viewers from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 9.2 million viewers from 10 to 11 p.m. That was up from the CBS presidential debate audience of 6.1 million.
Compared to their lead-ins, ABC’s debate coverage built dramatically from its “Ugly Betty” lead-in of 8.6 million viewers. NBC built from its “Earl” lead-in of 7 million viewers. CBS dropped from its “Survivor” lead-in of 12.9 million viewers.
Fox Broadcasting also carried the debate, plus about a quarter-hour of analysis. From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fox averaged 4.4 million viewers. From 10 to 11 p.m., Fox averaged 4.6 million viewers, but the last 15 minutes or so of that consisted of whatever Fox affiliates were airing.
Overnight data from 47 Nielsen metered markets showed that debate coverage on public broadcasting stations averaged a 2.3 household rating. That’s also up dramatically from the 1.7 rating in overnight markets for the presidential debate.
Cable ratings are expected to be released this afternoon, when Nielsen also is expected to add up the total viewership for all TV outlets that carried the debate.
(Editor: Baumann. Updated 10:40 a.m. to add second paragraph.)


  1. Let’s not be surprised by this. Sarah has actual ‘people appeal’ not to mention ‘star power!’
    Of all the candidates, it is easy to see how she can be such a draw, politics aside..
    The rest are just hack politicians.


  3. Sarah Palin is the real Ellen/ Rachael Ray/Kelly Ripa…perfect for a daytime talk show.

  4. She has a real old school Gary Cooper quality to her. Fresh comfort food.
    Biden came across like a guy in a wool wig. Stale toast.
    – all facts aside, but debates are not about facts or substance, they are all about leadership “style”.
    Ho Humm…I still miss my friend Hillary.

  5. Lol if Americans really want Sarah Palin in the White House, they should go ahead and vote her in. Amazing after all this time and people still can’t see through the smoke, mirrors and bullsh*t. Don’t worry though, desperate conservatives. It won’t last long. I think when it comes to Palin, the jig is well and truly up.

  6. I believe that McCain/Palin should be the ticket
    to run our country. What is scary is that there
    are people who would vote for someone to run our
    country who only has 143 votes in the senate.
    He is the least qualified of the four canidates.
    Wake up America.

  7. Everyone who still thinks Obama is their guy, should have the courage to read “The Case Against Barack Obama” by David Freddoso. I can’t believe Obama is a serious candidate for president. He lacks integrity and he talks out of both sides of his mouth. At least get the facts people before you cast your vote. This book is well-written and well-documented. Freddoso has done the job the media has refused to do on their favorite candidate.

  8. I cannot believe that there are rational people out there who actually are going to vote for the Sickly Old Man and the Valley Girl. I dont know where you have your heads, but they are certainly not on your shoulders. If 8 years of Republicans hasn’t sickened you, then you deserve four more…but I dont! If you are still rooting for Jr. then there is no hope for any of us. Look
    around…you like what you see? YOU DO? Damn! I am horrified and it’s not even Halloween. You ready for another ten years of war? Sheeesh! Then go ahead…cast you vote for Junior the Second and Hockeypuck and good luck to all of us! We are sure going to need it!

  9. Jacque,
    You obviously haven’t done any research on your candidate or he would sicken you. Hope sincerely hope all of the neophytes who don’t have decided that “Barack is so cool, I’m going to vote for him so that I can be cool like all of my friends” will actually do some research before they cast their vote.

  10. Palin is utterly ill-prepared. She repeated the attack lines fed to her – sometimes without regard to the questions. Incredible she wasn’t asked about her opposition to evolution… She had no major gaffes due to her extensive training. She is another dumb George-Bush-type cheerleader for the ultra-rich who need a good-ol’-gal to posture, while the 31 lobbyists inside McCain’s campaign grease the financial skids for the top 2% who have made off like bandits during the past 8 pathetic years.

  11. Our great country was doing fine until the democrats took control of congress 2 years ago. since then, it’s been all downhill. additionally, there is even an article published in the NYT from 1999 predicting EXACTLY what happened to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac IF they followed the mandate of Bill Clinton to raise the amounts of subprime mortgages that they approved. Clinton mandated that they raise the percentage from 40% of total mortgages to over 50%. they did and look what happened. This is a direct quote from the article “In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.” It is due to DEMOCRATS that we are in this mess, NOT due to the GOP. PLEASE do the research on Obama…there’s not much to research as he has NO experience. Spend 5 mins and you will see he is the least experienced candidate to run for pres…EVER!! Palin/McCain is the way to go and she proved it last night!

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