Nielsen: 65.6 Million Watched Town Hall Debate

Another huge turn-out for yesterday’s debate:

65.6 million people watched last night’s presidential town hall debate between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney, according to newly released numbers from Nielsen.

Debate viewership was slightly higher than the 63.2 million who watched the 2008 town hall debate, but slightly lower than the 67.2 million who watched this year’s first presidential debate in Denver, Colo. 51.4 million watched last week’s vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan.

The total number is based on totals across twelve networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CurrentTV and CNBC, which carried the debate live, and Univision and Telemundo, which carried it on tape delay. The total does not include online and out-of-home viewers, which likely puts the true number well-north of 70 million.

As with the first debate, more than 30 million viewers — nearly half — were above the age of 55. 19.4 million were between the ages of 35 and 54, 11.2 million were between the ages of 18 and 34.


  1. Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    All comes down to not who won or lost but WHAT was the audience take away feeling and messages and HOW did they feel about what both men said.

  2. No Tribe
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Big lead for Romney in Virginia.

  3. housebroken dad
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A Romney ad needs to go on the air pronto for this:
    I can’t believe Fox News isn’t talking about this more because it’s one of the most idiotic comments I’ve ever heard from a presidential contender (much less the president himself).

    • WillBest
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      When I heard Obama say that the first thing that came to my mind was what if the economy was really working now gas would be $7-8 a gallon!

  4. Pete
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Eye Candy is pulling out of FL VA NC and possibly CO. Making big radio ad buys on Clear Channel Radio in WI.

    Sounds like a re-run of 2008 to me.

    • WillBest
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Except Obama or Biden are holding rallies in FL and VA this week and buying plenty of ad money there. NC they conceded.

      • Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Haven’t heard of rallies here in Florida. Rahm is coming to Tampa to encourage people to vote early and often.

        The signs in Hillsborough and Pinellas are telling on the roads and in the neighborhoods. In 2008 the area was littered with Obama signs, especially large ones on major roads. So far only one that I’ve seen compared to over a dozen large Romney-Ryan signs at major intersections. And in yard signs, Romney is leading my count by 150-5. It’s actually more lopsided to Romney with that. There are whole neighborhoods with Romney signs. That never happened with McCain. People I’ve talked to either didn’t vote last time, voted Obama, or voted for McCain because they didn’t want to vote for Obama. All have come to like Romney, though not all felt so before. The first debate changed that. They are actually excited because they have read up and seen that he has fixed messes before.

        People are actually enthusiastic about voting FOR Mitt Romney, not only for voting AGAINST Obama. Combine both and you have a motivated electorate.

      • WillBest
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        I am convinced FL is as in the bag for Romney as say MO, AZ, or NC. I am just taking issue with the statement that FL or VA has been conceded. Joe Blow will be there on Friday.

      • No Tribe
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Obama will be there for the debate on Monday. If he comes back past Tuesday to Florida, then I’ll believe they still think it’s in play.

  5. housebroken dad
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Heard the clear channel one today on the way home. I had to laugh because it just regurgitated the same ole how can Romney fix the economy by giving tax breaks to the rich fallacy. That will play in Madison and Milwaukee but not everywhere else.

  6. zang
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That’s a pretty big number for a second debate. I do suspect a big drop for the 3rd… foreign policy is the topic, and during a football game.

  7. Posted October 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    For anyone worried that the media is saying Obama eked out a narrow win last night, take a look at CNN’s internal data:

    “Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the best job in the debate?”
    Obama +7 (46/39)

    “regardless of which presidential candidate you support, please tell me if you think Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would better handle…”

    Deficit: Romney +23
    Economy: Romney +18
    Taxes: Romney +7
    Health care: Romney +3
    Foreign policy: Obama +2
    Better debater: Obama +7

    Note that Obama barely squeaked by on foreign policy, even with the moderator’s misguided intervention on the Benghazi question. The margins on the federal deficit and the economy are HUGE. Arguably the LEAST important data point here is the topline, if so many people found Romney’s substance compelling.

    This is very good for Romney!

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  1. […] Battleground Watch Talking only about the states that matter this election year Skip to content About « Nielsen: 65.6 Million Watched Town Hall Debate […]

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