56.5 million watched final debate

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Number two was the biggest draw, but the third and final debate between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama drew heavy viewership. The Nielsen Company estimates that 56.5 million people watched the debate carried live on 10 broadcast and cable networks, plus the tape delayed broadcast on Telemundo.


Fox did not carry the third debate because it was broadcasting a Major League Baseball playoff game, as was the case for years ago as well.

So, the final debate between Presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Sen. John McCain of Arizona was telecast on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 from approximately 9:00 to 10:30 pm (ET) and was carried live on ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, MSNBC and MUN2, plus the tape delay on Telemundo.  The sum of debate audience on these 11 networks was 56,523,000, according to Nielsen.

2008 Presidential Debates

Sum of Networks Live + Same Day

 

September 26, 2008

October 7, 2008

October 15, 2008

 

Rating

Number  

Rating

Number

Rating

Number

All Households

31.6

36,224,000

38.8

44,372,000

35.0

40,037,000

Persons 2+

18.1

52,418,000

21.9

63,233,000

19.6

56,523,000

African American P2+ *

19.5

7,174,000

21.3

7,842,000

19.8

7,277,000

Hispanic P2+ *

8.2

3,456,000

11.0

4,774,000

12.6

5,522,000

White P2+ *

19.4

41,079,000

23.5

49,842,000

20.5

43,739,000

 2004 –Debate

September 30, 2004 

October 8, 2004

October 13, 2004*

Households

39.4

43,000,000

29.6

32,500,000

32.6

36,300,000

Persons 2+

22.5

62,500,000

16.8

46,700,000

18.5

51,200,000

 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:

Debate 1- ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

Debate 2 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

Debate 3 – ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, MUN2 – The MLB Playoffs aired on FOX broadcast opposite the debate

 

 

2004 Networks Included:

Debate 1 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

Debate 2 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

Debate 3 – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC.  The MLB Playoffs aired on FOX broadcast opposite the debate