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65.6 million Viewers Watched the Second Presidential Debate
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65.6 million Viewers Watched the Second Presidential Debate

An estimated 65.6 million people tuned in to watch the second debate between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday, October 16.

The town hall-style debate, hosted by Hofstra University in New York and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, was carried across 12 networks.

While coverage varied by network, 10 networks aired live coverage from approximately 9:00PM to 10:45PM while Univision and Telemundo aired coverage on tape delay. The chart below highlights the sum of the average audience for these networks.

The second presidential debate, and third overall, in this political season’s debate quartet netted 2.4 million more viewers than the second presidential debate between then Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain in 2008.

2012 Presidential Debates

Sum of Networks Live + Same Day

Oct. 3, 2012 Oct. 16, 2012
Rating Number of Viewers Rating Number of Viewers
All Households
40.4
46,242,000
40.0
45,589,000
Persons 2+
23.1
67,187,000
22.7
65,635,000
Persons 18-34
17.8
12,079,000
16.5
11,242,000
Persons 35-54
24.7
19,929,000
24.3
19,426,000
Persons 55+
39.6
30,811,000
39.4
30,661,000

2008 Presidential Debates

Sept. 26, 2008 Oct. 7, 2008
Rating Number of Viewers Rating Number of Viewers
Persons 2+
18.1
52,418,000
21.9
63,233,000

2012 Networks Included:

Debate 1 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, PBS, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, CurrentTV and CNBC

Debate 2 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, PBS, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC, CurrentTV and CNBC

2008 Networks Included:

Debate 1– ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

Debate 2 – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC