Skip to main content

Second Presidential Debate Draws 63.2 Million Viewers

The second presidential debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain was watched by 63.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

That easily surpassed the total audience for the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, which was watched by 52.4 million viewers on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. 

But last week's vice presidential debate between Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden is still the top-rated face-off of the 2008 campaign with more than 70 million viewers.

ABC was once again the most watched network, broadcast or cable, on debate night, with 13.2 million viewers tuning in on Tuesday night between 9-10:35 p.m.

NBC was watched by 10.86 million viewers followed by CBS with 9.44 million.

CNN was the most-watched cable news network with 9.22 million viewers. Fox News followed with 8.77 million viewers.

MSNBC was watched by 3.76 million people. And 2.8 million people watched the debate on PBS.

All three of the broadcast networks lost viewers for the 25 minutes of post-debate analysis between 10:35-11 p.m. Likewise CNN and Fox News, which fell to 7.63 million and 7.64 million viewers respectively. MSNBC, which runs a distant third to CNN and Fox News in the cable news ratings race, managed to add about 200,000 viewers from 10:35-11 p.m.

For complete election coverage, click here.