VP Debate Draws Record 69.9M

Shatters the 56.9M for Ferraro-Bush in 1984, and well above McCain-Obama I
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2008 4:35 PM CDT
Sarah Palin and Joe Biden during their vice presidential debate Thursday.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – Last night’s vice presidential debate drew 69.9 million viewers, shattering the record for such an event, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The 1984 encounter between VP candidates Geraldine Ferraro and George H.W. Bush drew 56.9 million; the record for a campaign debate is 80.6 million for the 1980 showdown between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

The debate attracted 45% of households in top US markets, a far larger proportion than viewed the first presidential debate, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers. Baltimore led the nation’s major markets with almost 60% of households watching. The so-called overnight number of 45 dwarfs the 31.6 preliminary number for the first presidential debate—but that one fell on a Friday.