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.