More Americans Watched ABC News Coverage and Analysis of the First Presidential Debate than Any Other Broadcast Outlet

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

October 4th, 2012

via press release:




11.252 Million Viewers Watched the First Presidential Debate on the ABC Television Network


8.865 Million Americans Turned to Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos

And the ABC News Powerhouse Political Team for Post-Debate Analysis


“Vote 2012: Presidential Debate-Wed” (9:00-10:32 p.m.)

On its first night of debate coverage, ABC News’Your Voice, Your Vote – 2012 Presidential Debate” drew an average audience of 11.3 million viewers, qualifying as Wednesday’s #1 program among Total Viewers. Airing from 9:00-10:32 p.m., ABC News delivered the most-watched coverage of the debate, outdrawing CBS by 7% (10.6 million) and NBC by 2% (11.1 million).


  • ABC’s debate coverage was up over the network’s coverage of the first Presidential debate four years ago by 2% in Total Viewers (11.0 million on 9/26/08).


“Vote 2012: Analysis-Wed-10/3” (10:32-11:00 p.m.)

ABC News’ analysis of the 2012 Presidential Debate on Wednesday night ranked as the #1 post-debate analysis in Total Viewers (8.9 million), topping NBC’s coverage by 2% (8.7 million) and CBS’ coverage by 27% (7.0 million).


  • ABC’s analysis of the 2012 Presidential debate grew by 7% in Total Viewers from the Net’s analysis on the comparable night four years ago (8.3 million on 9/26/08).


  • The ABC News debate analysis delivered the Network's best performance in the half-hour in nearly 1 year in Total Viewers – since 11/9/11.


Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos anchored ABC’s special coverage of the first Presidential debate in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday, October 3. To give viewers the whole picture on how each candidate performed and what impact it could have on the campaign going forward, Sawyer and Stephanopoulos were joined by members of ABC’s powerhouse political team including – Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper, “ABC World News” Weekend Anchor David Muir, Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl – who reported from ABC’s Fact or Fiction Desk -- as well as ABC News Political Contributors George Will, Matthew Dowd, Nicolle Wallace, Donna Brazile and Austan Goolsbee.


Marc Burstein is the senior executive producer of ABC News Special Events.




Total Viewers

Adults 25-54

ABC    11,252,000   3.92; 4,651,000
NBC   11,069,000   4.34; 5,156,000
CBS   10,576,000   3.80; 4,507,000




Total Viewers

Adults 25-54

ABC   8,865,000   2.97; 3,527,000
NBC   8,719,000   3.29; 3,899,000
CBS   7,010,000   2.48; 2,945,000


  • Pat Walsh

    Obama got schooled by a smarter, sharper, more prepared guy. Real simple.

  • Bookworm

    Happy for ABC, I did not watch the debate but I would have, they probably would have been the first channel.

    CNN is probably on suicide watch right now. I don’t think most were expecting the President to come out flat. I wasn’t shocked by the new since his DNC speech was flat to me; it lacked the energy he had in 08.

    But Biden, I’m scared about what Uncle Joe is going to say; Twice in one week he had slipped.

  • elle

    I watched on NBC as it seemed a second ahead of other channels.
    Wasn’t a good night for Obama but he’s never been a good debater. Luckly, nothing new was brought up last night. Pretty much everybody has made up their mind. Looks like Obama will be reelected. I’m more excited for 2016. The Democrats always have good pool of qualified people to choose from.

  • Ralph Hahn

    ABC news release leaves OUT the cable news ratings, including Fox News, which topped everyone on-air and through-cable.

    What I always say: Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

  • Ralph Hahn

    With all of the talk about PBS funding being cut by Romney, with programs such as “Sesame Street” on the line, you would think that broadcast viewers would choose ABC so that they could hear George “Snuffelupgas” defend the taking of taxpayer dollars to run a television network. lol

  • commonsense

    if you watched the debate, Romney won in a landslide. if you listened closely to what Romney said, it’s been a complete 180 degree flip-flop of his policies yet again.

    And Romney said that he would cut Big Bird….that’s not right.

  • Bruce

    Romney said what he has been saying, there were non flip-flops. That’s the only defense Captain Twinkles has left. That and calling him a liar. The real liar is our current soon-to-be ex-president.

  • Ralph Hahn

    @commonsense: There’s no change in Romney nor his proposed policies. He’s been the same all the while but the lamstream media, reporters who are in the Obama ‘tank’, have been drumming it into your head what the Administration keeps saying about Romney and Ryan and what the GOP contenders plan to do. Romney looked Obama right in the face, three times I counted, and told Obama that the Democrats are using lies and scare tactics because they have no defensible record to run on.

    Now, Obama was on the campaign trail yesterday saying the guy on the stage with him the night before wasn’t Romney, it as a Romney imposter saying different things…things Obama’s handlers have been training him to say “Stick to the talking points.”

    Everyone finally saw Obama, without a teleprompter, as an empty suit. Unless the President is going to announce complete World Peace or announce that he’s come up with a cure for cancer, I can’t see the outcome of the next debate and the one after on foreign policy be much different than Wednesday night’s debate.

  • a p garcia

    Personally I watch it on FOX. I did this because I didn’t want anchors and ancorettes tell me what was actually said by what I just heard! After the speech was over, I tuned in to another channel.

  • Yofray Ray

    Hey Ralph Hahn, news flash, YOU SUCK!

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures