Biden-Palin debate set ratings record

Oct. 4, 2008 at 12:57 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The vice presidential debate in St. Louis between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin drew more than 70 million viewers, ratings indicate.

The audience was 34 percent greater than that for the presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama in Oxford, Miss., last week, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Nielsen Media Research said it measured the TV audience at just under 70 million, but Nielsen doesn't measure C-SPAN or PBS audiences. PBS estimated 3.5 million viewers watched the debate on public television, the Times said.

It was the largest audience for a vice presidential debate since Nielsen started measuring audiences in 1960, and it broke the record set in 1984 when 56.7 million viewers turned in for a debate between George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro.

The Biden-Palin debate tied the rating for the 1992 presidential debate among Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot -- but it fell short of matching the record set in 1980, when 80.6 million people watched Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate, the report said.

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