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CNN Establishes Mark With S.C. Face-Off

While pundits differ on who scored best in the debate, CNN was a clear-cut winner in the Nielsen column Monday night.

The Democratic presidential candidate face-off in South Carolina on Jan. 21 attracted 4.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data, the most ever in cable news for a primary debate.

The forum, which featured Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), topped the previous record-holder, the Nov. 28, 2007 YouTube GOP debate on CNN, which drew 4.49 million watchers, according to CNN officials.

It was a similar situation among key demographic groups. Among the news demo of adults 25 to 54, Monday night’s debate pulled in 1.9 million of those watchers, while 1.8 million adults 18 to 49 watched on average. 

Those totals also toppled the marks held by the YouTube GOP debate, which pulled in 1.54 million and 1.3 million of the aforementioned demos.