Republican National Convention Night 3 Draws 21.9 Million Viewers, Down 15 Million From 2008

Categories: Broadcast TV,Cable TV

Written By

August 30th, 2012

via nielsenwire

An estimated 21.9 million people tuned in to watch the third night of the 2012 Republican National Convention on Wednesday, August 29. [...]

In 2008, over 37 million people tuned in to catch the comparable day 3 of the RNC— which was 41 percent higher than last night’s viewership. That day in 2008, however, made headlines when Sarah Palin made her much-anticipated debut into the national spotlight.

2012 Republican National Convention
Sum of Networks Live + Same Day
Day 1-Aug 27, 2012 Day 2-Aug 28, 2012 Day 3-Aug 29, 2012
Rating Number of Viewers Rating Number of Viewers Rating Number of Viewers
All Households

No common coverage due to Hurricane Isaac

14.7 16,920,000 14.7 16,697,000
Persons 2+ 7.7 22,301,000 7.7 21,942,000
Persons 18-34 2.2 1,483,000 3.2 2,129,000
Persons 35-54 6.7 5,414,000 6.7 5,482,000
Persons 55+ 18.8 14,661,000 17.6 13,670,000

Networks Included:

2008 Republican National Convention
Sum of Networks Live + Same Day
Day 1-Sept 1 2008 Day 2-Sept 2 2008 Day 3-Sept 3 2008
Rating Number of Viewers Rating Number of Viewers Rating Number of Viewers
Persons 2+

No common coverage due to Hurricane Gustav

7.3 21,528,000 12.9 37,244,000

2008 Networks Included

  • DenverDean

    1. Sarah Palin.
    2. 2008 was one of most closely watched elections (both contested primaries)
    3. Just wait for drop next week. I’m sure the record numbers that saw the President in Denver in 2008 won’t be there.

  • bluejoni

    @DenverDean The difference is there’s always less interest with the incumbent during the conventions !! This Repub viewership is pathetic at best !!

  • Bill Gorman

    “This Repub viewership is pathetic at best !!”

    Nah, it’s pretty typical. Night 2 was almost exactly what night 2 was in 2008. That 2008 Palin night 3 was an exception.

  • AppleStinx

    This year, day 3 saw a big jump (from day 2) in young viewers: +43.6% in the P18-34 demo. This could be a sign of how Paul Ryan will affect this election.

  • Voltron

    Considering Paul Ryan was still largely unknown except to political junkies, I would’ve thought there would be more curiosity to see who this “exciting” “young” man and his mythical “washboard abs”. but it didn’t. I know Paul Ryan fits the model of who Republicans dream wetly about, but perhaps he only excites the hardcore Republicans anyway, and lacks the crossover appeal like Palin had. I could understand these ratings if it was someone more familiar like Mike Huckabee or Rudy Guliani, but Ryan seemed to be someone new and fresh enough to be interesting, but evidently he wasn’t.

    Next week, if Obama can draw closer to what he did in 2008, then this is more of a sign of apathy for the Romney-Ryan ticket, but if Obama’s drop is just as steep, then its dis-interest for the campaign in general (which wouldn’t surprise me in the least)

  • Karla

    I realize this would not account for all of the drop but for one thing the Convention is also a bit odd this year as well due to the storm and postponing things and days being so combined. I also read that Nielsen released a report today not about this but the fact that the number of TV’s in households is down quite a bit in comparison to last year. Many people are now viewing online or other entities as opposed to watching from home. Some no longer view at all and will pick up the speeches only on You Tube. I know a few folks at work do not care for the commentary on any of the channels and watch the whole thing on C-Span. 4 years later many things have changed. JM 2cents

  • 728huey

    @DenverDean and Karla

    Both of you have made astute observations. The 2008 Presidential race was closely watched because of the novelty of the first African American Presidential candidate with a real shot of winning the election and the addition of a previously unknown and relatively good-looking female VP candidate on the ticket. Also at that time, Facebook had only been open to college students, YouTube was still young but growing in influence, and Twitter was in its infancy. The difference now is that we have an incumbent President and an opposition party whose standard-bearer is either accepted lukewarmly or detested by the base. In addition, much of the platform of the candidates and their respective parties has been viewed, disseminated, and discussed ad nauseam on said social networks. I’m anxious to see what the DNC does next week, but I’m sure the numbers for that will be down significantly from 2008.

  • Jim

    This year I’m watching on c-span online which is not counted in the ratings.

  • Ron

    Karla, the 2008 rnc was also pushed back a day due to a hurricane

  • MJC

    I switched to c-span because on MSNBC it was just the regular MSNBC talking heads spouting their opinions with the RNC as a backdrop for them. They picked the speakers they wanted to show, not all of them like c-span.

  • mc

    I’m not watching because I have a low tolerance for BS.

  • Ryan

    Well, there is still some preseason football going about…

  • Doc

    As long as they lose the election, I don’t care how many people watched.

  • JJA

    Sarah Palin must be feeling pretty good right now. Silly Republicans didn’t invite her, and nobody showed up to watch. lol

  • bob


    I think a complete do over for both parties is warranted. I mean this has been the worst four years of any Presidency (except Carter years) that we have ever witnessed. However, the Republicans didn’t do that great picking either so who knows. Dump Obama and Romney!!! They both are awful!!!!

  • Joseph

    I think it could be in part because the Old Money Republicans have shut out the Tea Party, and Reformist Republicans.

  • DenverDean

    As per my point regarding the unprecedented interest in 2008, take a look at overall cable viewing numbers. The networks were setting records as people were intrigued by the process. I was even a huge political junkie, but as others have noted – social media and online viewing has certainly changed the game. Like I said, just wait for next week’s numbers. They will be nowhere close to Denver08.

  • Chaz

    Gary Johnson has my vote this year. hopefully he can debate the other 2 losers.

  • Joseph

    Pre-season NFL football probably took a chunk out of the ratings during the Republican Convention.

    The first (this Tuesday, September 4th) and third (this Thursday, September 6th) nights of the Democratic convention will probably do better in the ratings because they won’t go head-to-head against the NFL.

    But night two (this Wednesday, September 5th) will likely result in the least-watched night of prime-time convention coverage since 1952 because it will go up against the opening game of the NFL season, which will feature the defending champs (New York Giants) against “America’s Team” (the Dallas Cowboys).

  • Fischer

    DNC will, in sure, see a huge drop. RNC ratings weren’t bad, and you cannot judge who will win off ratings. Obama/Bidin ticket has worn down on me. @JJA why would RNA ever invite Palin? She’s looked as a TV personality and a joke to the American people.

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