First Presidential Debate Draws 67.2 Million Viewers, Up 28% From 2008

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV,Cable TV

Written By

October 4th, 2012

via nielsenwire.

An estimated 67.2 million people watched Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama debate Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate on Wednesday, October 3.

The debate was carried live from the University of Denver in Colorado across 11 networks and was moderated by Jim Lehrer, host of NewsHour on PBS.

While coverage varied by network, 11 networks aired live coverage from approximately 9:00 PM to 10:30 PM while Telemundo aired coverage on tape delay. The chart below highlights the sum of the average audience for these networks.

Viewership to last night’s debate was up 28 percent compared to the first presidential debate in 2008 between then Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain.

2012 Networks Included:

2008 Networks Included:
Debate 1 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

  • Tommy Mickens

    Ray wrote: Who is the TV character (present or past) who most reminds you of Mitt Romney? President Obama?

    I would say Joey from Blossom and Natalie from The Facts of Life.

  • Phillip Drummond

    Glad I didn’t watch this boring crap.

    I watched the Wild Things franchise instead.

    You guys should watch Wild Things 2 with Susan Ward.


    Romney crushed Obama. It’s not just republicans claiming victory. MSNBC, CNN, FOX all agreed Romney easily won the debate. Obama didn’t look like he wanted to be there, he was to occupied making appearances on talk shows to practice for the debate

  • Baaa!

    Romney did well saying nothing. About the only thing concrete was killing off Big Bird, but since PBS only receives 15% of its funding from the government and PBS funding accounts for about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget that amounts to nothing as well. He will tell you volumes about how he will change something that will not matter, but not get specific on things that will. Obama needs to fire his speech manager as I got nothing from alot of something…maybe.

  • BJH

    I hope Obama wins the election. Why? I don’t want another 8-year, Bush-redux presidency. Bush ruined our economy. Obama tried to pick up the pieces, but was kept down by the Republicans in the Senate (who don’t seem to care about the USA’s struggle, but more about taking down Democrats and Obama). The Republicans have spent more money and effort on pointless, childish agendas than actually save or help America. Democrats are not much better, but at least they won’t destroy our environment and civil rights. Remember: Sarah Palin blamed the oil spill disaster in the Gulf on the Democrats, not on the oil-crazed Republicans.

    To be honest: I watched Supernatural instead on Wednesday night. It was far more entertaining than two men debating about the future of my country. If either truly cared, America would be already on its way to recovery. It would have started with Bush’s administration and not Obama’s.


    @BJH. Little do you know that Obama passed everything he wanted to in the first 2 yrs since DEMOCRATES controlled Senate/House of Reps. Obama has accumulated more debt than any other president (even ones with 2 terms). You cannot blame all of Obamas debt on Bush. If Obama is elected again and by the end of his 2 yr term the debt is still rising, DEMOCRATES will still blame Bush. Obama needs to take responsibility. On Wednesday, Obama, for once, has to defend his record, and just couldn’t. The truth is Obama has done nothing to reach to the other side. He instead passed Obama Care without A SINGLE REPUBLICAN vote.

  • Mark3


  • Dorothy Stein

    RIGHT is MIGHT. Hallelujah for the Bright, Competent, Fair and Honest Guys to Win. Our country desperately needs to be brought back to the foundation and vision of our Founders – to our Constitution. Mitt Romney is a good and moral man who has a proven record of success in business and in government. He will represent 100% of our American people. Pray that he will be the next President of the United States of America.

  • Me!

    @ O

    I do not believe that any debate will have any major impact on voting patterns, unless a major gaffe happens.

    There might be an impact if they had Gary Johnson and/or Jill Stein there. But the two party dictatorship in the US refuses to allow that, so they come up with rigged requirements to prevent anyone other than their nominees to get the chance.

    The sad thing is, if, when addressing real issues, Republicans and Democrats showed the partisanship they do in squelching third parties, they might actually get things done.

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