The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Last Night’s TV Debate Audience: At Least 58 Million


BOOM. Big national audience for last night:

More than 58 million people watched the first Presidential debate last night between President Obama and Mitt Romney, up substantially from the first debate in the 2008 election cycle, which had 52.4 million viewers.

Fox News was the most-watched cable news network during the debate, and will likely be the most-watched network on TV, though final broadcast numbers will not be released until after 4 PM.

Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, Fox and CBS are all up from the same debate in 2008, while CNN and ABC are down. In the adults 25-54 demo, FNC and MSNBC are up compared to 2008, while CNN is down.

The 58 million figure (and the 52.4 million figure) does not include coverage on PBS, Univision, C-SPAN, the cable business networks or online.

By my math, that’s about 10 percent higher than 2008′s first debate, which occurred just as the country faced a sudden economic meltdown.

Throw in PBS, Univision, and C-SPAN, and perhaps north of 60 million?

Tags: Debates


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