Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Bears or debate: What are you watching?

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If the most recent Bears Monday Night game is any indication, more Chicagoans might be tuned into the contest against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field tonight than into that other contest in Boca Raton, Fla., which Lynn Sweet writes is a "make or break" moment for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

For the week of Oct 1-7, (which also included the first presidential debate on Oct. 3) the Bears-Cowboys game on ESPN was the second highest rated broadcast (just ahead of the same game's broadcast on WGN and just below the Bears' Sunday, Oct. 7 game vs. Jacksonville.)

The Wednesday night debate made just 3 of the top 20 broadcasts for that week in Chicago (ABC with 500,000 viewers, NBC with 415,000 and Fox with 356,000).

This being the Bears first game off a bye week versus a division rival, and the fact that Illinois is one of the least "swinging" states, in terms of the presidential election, could lead to another big evening for Monday Night Football in the Chicago market. But at the national level, if recent trends continue, tonight's debate could potentially break the latest viewership level of 69.9 million in 1992.

Prior to that, the presidential debate ratings record was set in 1980, when Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan faced off before 80.6 million Americans.

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