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Friday, October 03, 2008

Nielsen ratings on Veep debate show 70 million Americans' fascination with Sarah Palin

Only the 1980 Reagan-Carter presidential debate outdrew last night's vice-presidential debate. My latest guest-post at HughHewitt.com explains why these monster ratings are great news for McCain-Palin.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

From an email I just received from the Nielsen organization regarding their TV ratings for last night's vice presidential debate:

  • 69.9 million people watched the debate, tying it for second place among all Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. (The second Bush/Clinton/Perot debate of 1992 also have 69.9 million. The all-time debate leader is the Carter/Reagan debate of 1980.)

  • This is 17.5 million viewers more than the McCain/Obama debate last Friday.

  • More women (35.7 million) watched the debate than men (30.4 million).

  • Compared to the McCain/Obama debate, viewing was up among all ethnic groups, including African American, Hispanic and White.

Although scheduling the debate on a Thursday was obviously a factor in attracting more viewers than the presidential debate last Friday, public curiosity about Sarah Palin clearly drove these higher ratings.

As with her blockbuster speech at the Republican National Convention, Americans again proved their preference for taking the measure of this newcomer to the national political scene directly, without filtration through the old-media spinners. The results will continue to percolate between now and election day, probably not showing their full effect in the political opinion polls taken between now and then.

Obviously, some millions of those who tuned in did so with the expectation and even the fervent hope that Gov. Palin would implode on-screen; their votes aren't likely to be changed even though their hopes and expectations were bitterly disappointed.

But it's equally obvious that millions of others who tuned in did so because they are still open to persuasion. Thus, these objective and unprecedented numbers are terrific news for the McCain-Palin campaign.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 07:52 PM in 2008 Election, Film/TV/Stage, McCain, Obama, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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(1) Antimedia made the following comment | Oct 3, 2008 11:00:20 PM | Permalink

Actually, those numbers did not include PBS, which added another 3.5 million viewers, making the debate the most-watched debate in history - greater than an presidential or vice presidential debate.

(2) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Oct 5, 2008 11:49:53 AM | Permalink

This election has brought out more clearly that any I remember the superficiality of the news media in their evaluations of candidates. I've just finished listening to a snippet of Peggy Noonan on Meet the Press. After some waffling, she has evidently decided to come out against Palin, largely because of Sarah's *performance* in the debate

(Peggy, I've often wondered whether you were driven most by conviction or ego, but now I think I know--you betcha.)

That's what it is all about from the media's point of view. The most meaningful guide to the candidates--their histories, especially in office--is largely ignored. Even those i would ordinarily consider insightful--such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer--seem clueless in this regard.

Now I don't really know what makes Sarah Palin tick, nor do I know whether her accomplishments are completely her own or the result of luck and following the advice of wise advisers. I don't know, nor does anyone in the news media. What I do know is that her worthwhile accomplishments, especially in the brief time she has been Governor, far outweigh those of anyone else who is running.

Discounting the very act of gaining office, certainly McCain has accomplished some things--whether for good or ill each of us may decide individually--both in the Navy and as a Senator. Biden's accomplishments are few and far between. His finest one by his own choosing--the Violence Against Women Act, an attempt to federalize state crime--was largely overturned by the Supreme Court.

Obama, as we all know, has accomplished next to nothing of any merit, although he is quite skilled at enhancing his resume and taking credit for the work of others.

Palin has a strong record of getting things done where others failed, and has an approach to ethics that only McCain's can hope to be compared with. Cleaning up the Republican party, cutting the budget and taxes, and taking on the oil companies are accomplishments that other politicians can only dream of.

Yet the Medianites attend mainly to the show business aspects of the contest.

In other business, I'm at a loss to comprehend the strategy (or is it tactic?) of the campaign's use of Sarah. Immediately after the debate they sent her to California. California! What chance has McCain of taking that state even if he had a stable of Sarahs? Either it's a move too profound for my imagining, or else the dunderheads have taken control. She ought to be used almost exclusively in those states where they say, "You betcha." Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan can all be put in play with her help, and she'd also be appreciated in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and maybe Virginia.

But now they've fallen back, it would appear, on the tie-vote interpretation of the electoral count, so we can expect to see her in Omaha and Maine. It's a strategy that is too clever by half, and based more, I fear, on wishful thinking than reality.

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