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52.4 Million Watched McCain And Obama’s First Debate
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52.4 Million Watched McCain And Obama’s First Debate

According to data from across 11 networks, the first presidential debate on September 26 between John McCain and Barack Obama drew 52.4 million viewers.

The TV audience for the first presidential debate of the 2008 election was roughly 16% smaller than the audience for the first debate between President Bush and John Kerry during the 2004 election, which drew 62.5 million viewers on September 30, 2004. See more historical debate ratings.

ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX  News Channel, and MSNBC aired live coverage of the McCain/Obama debate from approximately 9pm to 10:45pm EST.

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings in the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Hollywood Reporter, Media Life, and by the Associated Press.