First Presidential debate draws 52.4 million viewers

Numbers on the first presidential debate between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain in Mississippi are now available from Nielsen and the numbers are a but lower than the first debate of 2004 between John Kerry and George Bush. Here’s a graphic from Nielsen showing this year’s numbers and the numbers compared to 2004:

Report from Nielsen:

According to data from across 11 networks, the first presidential debate on September 26 between John McCain and Barack Obama drew 52.4 million viewers.

The TV audience for the first presidential debate of the 2008 election was roughly 16% smaller than the audience for the first debate between President Bush and John Kerry during the 2004 election, which drew 62.5 million viewers on September 30, 2004.

ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC aired live coverage of the McCain/Obama debate from approximately 9pm to 10:45pm EST.

Perhaps it was just the Friday-night syndrome but you would have thought with the interest in the campaign this year, we would have seen more than 2004.

Exit question: Perhaps interest in the election or Sen. Obama isn’t as big as the media says it is or is it just a case of low ratings on a Friday night?

I’m guessing the latter but we’ll see this Thursday at the VP debate which airs at 9pm eastern time.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    Wow. 52.4 million. The majority of Americans are considering two candidates who despise the Constitution.

  • I am not sure if the Nielsen ratings can track the Internet viewings. This probably had a sizable impact on the numbers. This said, there are also a few million who taped/watched them online later. The more and more we move forward in time, the greater the use technology.

  • Michael’s correct. Add on a few million for good measure perhaps.

  • I do believe there will be more viewers for the VP debate only b/c Sarah is viewed as the new face and fresh meat. I will be astutely watching.

  • I wasn’t really interested in the Presidential debates just the VP debate (why only one?) but after Obama held his own in the debate that McCain was supposed to win, I’ll be watching the others.

    I think after Palins recent not-so-great interviews, people will be watching to see if she has a meltdown bigger than Chernobyl under the big spotlight.

  • Babs

    *LOL* I understand this won’t be Sarah’s first debate, like I had orginally thought. Seems she did very well in the debates for governor. One thing I’ve learned from reading the latest book out about her, is that she doesn’t back down, and she doesn’t give up. I think Biden needs to practice hard. We all may be in for a big surprise.

  • JD

    NZpudding – “I think after Palins recent not-so-great interviews, people will be watching to see if she has a meltdown bigger than Chernobyl under the big spotlight.”

    This is what I am expecting. My first post on here is going to be…

    I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!

    and the few brain washed Palin women who moved over from Clinton will be back again.

  • I’m half expecting to see some questionable square shape on Palins person like there was on Bush back in 2004.

  • Christopher Schwinger