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Convention Speeches by the Numbers
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Convention Speeches by the Numbers

Thanks to Hurricane Isaac, which pushed back day one of the Republican National Convention, both Republicans and Democrats had equal primetime exposure to promote their platforms. Nielsen’s analysis of the common, primetime coverage across several networks found that roughly 57 percent of all U.S. households (or 65.4 million homes) tuned into at least one of the 2012 political party conventions, down from 64.5 percent (or 73.2 million homes) in 2008.

President Obama had the slight edge in overall viewership, netting 13.7 percent of viewers to Mitt Romney’s 12.5 percent. Both Romney and Obama did well with people over age 55– almost 26 percent tuned in to watch the former Massachusetts Governor accept the GOP nod, while 25 percent of that same demo watched Obama’s address.

Each party also tried to cash in on high-profile speakers, with the Republicans choosing actor Clint Eastwood and Democrats the former President Bill Clinton. The battle for viewers between them was close, with Clinton drawing slightly more viewers across demographics. Viewership among males was closest. Eastwood’s speech, was watched by 9.7 percent of male viewers, while Clinton’s captured 9.8 percent of male viewers.

Primetime Republican National Convention Speeches – Total U.S. Reach %

Demo Ann Romney Paul Ryan Clint Eastwood Marco Rubio Mitt Romney
Household 15.0 16.9 18.3 19.1 22.8
Persons 2+ 7.7 8.7 9.9 10.4 12.5
Females 2+ 8.3 8.9 10.1 10.5 12.6
Males 2+ 7.1 8.5 9.7 10.3 12.3
Persons 18-34 2.3 4.6 4.3 4.8 5.6
Persons 35-54 7.0 9.3 9.6 10.6 13.3
Persons 55+ 18.5 19.7 21.2 21.7 26.0
Source: Nielsen. Read as: 15 percent of U.S. homes tuned in to Ann Romney’s speech

Primetime Democratic National Convention Speeches – Total U.S. Reach %

Demo Michelle Obama Julian Castro Bill Clinton Joe Biden Barack Obama
Household 18.4 17.2 21.1 27.0 24.8
Persons 2+ 9.6 8.8 10.9 14.7 13.7
Females 2+ 10.7 9.6 12.0 16.6 15.1
Males 2+ 8.5 8.0 9.8 12.8 12.2
Persons 18-34 4.6 3.7 5.0 8.7 8.5
Persons 35-54 9.3 8.6 11.2 16.4 15.1
Persons 55+ 20.8 19.3 23.3 27.1 25.0
Source: Nielsen. Read as: 18.4 percent of U.S. homes tuned to Michelle Obama’s speech