The Sarah Palin Joe Biden vice presidential debates drew a massive 69.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, beating the Barack Obama John McCain debate by 17.5 million.
Nielsen press release.....
Nielsen just released the ratings for the Biden/Palin debate (see press release below). Some interesting observations:
69.9 million people watched the debate, tying it for second place among all Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. (The second Bush/Clinton/Perot debate of 1992 also have 69.9 million. The all-time debate leader is the Carter/Reagan debate of 1980.)
This is 17.5 million viewers more than the McCain/Obama debate last Friday.
More women (35.7 million) watched the debate than men (30.4 million)
Compared to the McCain/Obama debate, viewing was up among all ethnic groups, including African American, Hispanic and White.
Although scheduling the debate on a Thursday was obviously a factor in attracting more viewers than the presidential debate last Friday, public curiosity about Sarah Palin clearly drove these higher ratings.
For historical information on previous debates and additional political information from the current campaign, please visit the Nielsen Newswire at: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/category/politics/
70 Million Watch the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate
Senator Biden and Governor Palin -October 2, 2008
New York -- The sole debate between Vice Presidential candidates Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska and Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware was telecast on Thursday October 2, 2008 from approximately 9:00 to 10:30 PM and was carried live on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC. The sum of debate audience on these 11 networks was 69,989,000.
For comparison the audience for Vice Presidential debates from 2004 between VP Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards and from 1984 between then-VP George H.W. Bush and Rep. Geraldine Ferraro are shown below.
2008 Vice Presidential Debate
Sum of Networks Live + Same Day
October 2, 2008
African American P2+ *
Hispanic P2+ *
White P2+ *
2004 VP Debate - October 5, 2004
1984 VP Debate -October 11, 1984
Source: The Nielsen Company
* Persons ratings for African American, Hispanic are % of African American/ Hispanic persons age 2+ in TV homes watching the debate coverage.
2008 Networks Included:
ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC
2004 Networks Included:
ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC
1984 Networks Included:
ABC, CBS, NBC