Vice Presidential Debate Averages 51.4 Million Viewers, Down 18.5 Million From 2008

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October 12th, 2012

via nielsenwire:

An estimated 51.4 million people tuned in to watch the sole debate between sitting Democratic V.P Joe Biden and Republican V.P. hopeful Congressman Paul Ryan on Thursday, October 11.

The debate, hosted by Centre College in Kentucky and moderated by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz, was carried across 12 networks.

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

In 2008, the Vice Presidential debate between then Sen. Joe Biden and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin drew over 18 million more viewers than last night’s debate. The 2008 Biden-Palin debate notwithstanding, last night’s political tête-à-tête had the highest V.P. debate viewership since the George H.W. Bush-Geraldine Ferarro debate in 1984. That debate nabbed 56.7 million viewers.

2012 Networks Included:
ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Current TV, FOX News and MSNBC

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

For historical information on previous debates and additional political information from the current campaign, visit the Nielsen Wire Politics section at:

  • Jackson

    I’m glad that many people turned in to see Paul Ryan get smacked down by Biden. ^_^

  • Ultima

    I’m glad that many people turned in to see Paul Ryan get smacked down by Biden.

    They must have been disappointed by what they actually saw then! ;)

  • John Doe

    So many people got to see what Joe Biden looks like when he’s laughing, too.

  • Oliver

    Very respectable ratings considering neither candidate has the draw of Palin.

  • AppleStinx

    The Next Media Animation view of the VP debate:

  • Feedback

    What’s with Ryan’s forehead? You could plant carrot crops in the crevice of his forehead.


    No one won the debate. Republicans liked Ryan. Democrats liked Biden. It was a different story during the first presidential debate.

  • James

    Biden was great on the debate. and the reason why Biden was laughing alot. is because of the most of what Raul Ryan saying was ridiculous and flat out lying like his partner friend Romney. and Ryan sounded like he and Mitt might Privatize Social Security.

  • The End

    Personally thought Biden displayed great leadership material and had the answers to the hard questions, something Ryan lacked severely.

    Debate summed up like this.

    How would you fix ‘insert issue here’.

    Biden: I would do this, and would do this by doing that, and of course the effect of that will be lessened by doing this(Basically displaying he has the knowledge and know how to show how he will fix an issue).

    Ryan: Non answers here, no explainations, simply conjucture with no basis in the present.

    This debate was actually a thosand times more interesting than the Obama/Romney one. Although Romney won that debate, had Obama displayed a bit of Biden and smacked down Romney, interupted him to put him in his place and generally displaying the same character as Biden, he would of won.

    If I was to judge who would be a better President on their campaign performances, I would say Joe Biden deserves to be President.

  • Master Moron

    I don’t understand why liberals can admit that Obama got his ass kicked in his debate, but conservatives can’t admit that Ryan got his ass kicked in his debate. Biden caught Ryan in lie after lie. If you don’t think Biden won the debate, you’re in denial.

  • The End

    @Master Moron

    I agree with you. Actually a disturbing thought what a man with no answers(Paul Ryan) could do to the country. He honestly came accross as clueless, like he hadn’t done his homework and I would compare him to say, if they had a show called debate with Biden and they picked a random audience member out the crowd to debate lol. He was that bad.

  • Samuel

    @Ultima LOL! I don’t see how anyone (even liberals) could watch that debate and think that Biden won. Everything he did was rude, disrespectful, and (most importantly) incorrect. Many people laugh when they’re nervous, so I understand his reaction. I sure as heck would’ve been nervous if I had to lie that much about Libya and the state of our country!

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