Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Last Debate: 56.5 Million Viewers

Posted Oct 17, 2008 at 1:29 AM by Maurice Berger

Viewership of last night's presidential debate was down slightly from the second debate, at 56.5 million according to Nielsen. The first debate had 52.4 million; the second 63.2 million; and the VP debate drew the highest ratings, at an extraordinary 69.9 million viewers.

Nielsen: Last Night's Debate Viewership Down 9%

Posted Oct 16, 2008 at 8:52 AM by Maurice Berger

Nielsen reports that last night's debate viewership declined almost 9% from the previous presidential debate a week ago. While more viewers tuned into last night's event than the first presidential debate, it was far outpaced by the Vice Presidential match up two weeks earlier. PollTrack should have final ratings later today.

63.2 million Watch Second McCain-Obama Debate

Posted Oct 09, 2008 at 3:39 AM by Maurice Berger

According to Nielsen, 63.2 million viewers watched the second McCain-Obama presidential debate. This is 10.8 million more than watched the first debate, but well shy of the nearly 70 million who tuned into the VP debate between Biden and Palin. 

VP Debate: 69.9 Million Viewers

Posted Oct 03, 2008 at 11:05 AM by Maurice Berger

Almost 70 million viewers tuned into the last night's Vice Presidential debate between Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and US Senator Joe Biden. The match up drew over 17 million more viewers than last Friday's presidential debate.

Astonishing Viewership For VP Debate

Posted Oct 03, 2008 at 5:51 AM by Maurice Berger

Preliminary Nielson overnight ratings suggest that last night's VP debate was the most watched since Clinton/Bush in 1992. Nielson reports an astonishing 33% upswing in viewers over last Friday's debate between McCain and Obama. PollTrack will have final numbers later today. The relatively strong performance of both Biden and Palin should help both campaigns. But given McCain's need to change the subject from the bad economic news dominating recent news cycles, the Republicans may have benefited more from last night's tussle in St. Louis. Stay tuned.

Beware of Snap Polls

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 3:42 PM by Maurice Berger

Several snap polls released within the hour suggest Biden won tonight's debate. CNN, for example: 51% Biden/36% Palin. But on another key barometer--on who is the more typical politician--Biden is viewed more negatively, by a wide margin. PollTrack suggests taking these polls with a grain of salt. For one, they are registering an instantaneous reaction to a complicated news event. Since they only include responses from voters who say they actually watched the debate, these surveys may skew with regard to party affiliation (Indeed, John King of CNN reported that debate watchers were disproportionately Democratic.) Chances are this evening's debate will not alter the general dynamics of the race. But whether it does or not, snap polls will do little to clarify the effect of this event on public opinion.