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51.4 million Viewers Tune Into Biden and Ryan’s V.P. Debate
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51.4 million Viewers Tune Into Biden and Ryan’s V.P. Debate

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 Vice Presidential Debate

Sum of Networks Live + Same Day

Oct. 11, 2012
Rating Number of Viewers
All Households 31.9 36,437,000
Persons 2+ 17.7 51,419,000
Persons 18-34 10.5 7,151,000
Persons 35-54 18.6 14,941,000
Persons 55+ 34.4 26,731,000

2008 Vice Presidential Debate

Oct. 2, 2008
Rating Number of Viewers
Persons 2+ 24.0 69,989,000

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