Obama-Romney second debate watched by 65.6 million on TV

LOS ANGELES Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:08pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An estimated 65.6 million Americans watched the second TV presidential debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, about 2 million fewer than the audience for the candidates' first matchup, according to TV ratings data.

Final Nielsen data on Wednesday showed that Tuesday's town hall style debate, in which the two contenders fielded questions from undecided voters in a sometimes contentious encounter, was broadcast across 12 U.S. network and cable television channels.

The Some 67.2 million viewers watched the first debate on October 3, making it one of the top 10 most-watched presidential debates of the past 30 years. Both TV debates have attracted more viewers than those during in the 2008 presidential election.

But Obama and Romney have so far failed to capture the audience riveted by the vice-presidential encounter four years ago between Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden, which was watched by 69.9 million people, which ties as second most-viewed debate ever.

According to Nielsen, which began collecting such debate data in 1976, the most-watched presidential debate on U.S. television was the October 1980 encounter between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which drew 80.6 million viewers.

Other high points were recorded by the three-way Bill Clinton, Ross Perot and George H.W. Bush matchup in 1992 (69.9 million), Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in 1976 (69.7 million) and Michael Dukakis and Bush in 1988 (67.3 million).

Obama and Romney will debate one more time - on Monday - before the November 6 elections.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (2)
americanguy wrote:
After Obama jumped Romney’s case and got visibly angry, I noticed Romney was walking funny. Romney was walking kind of like a robot. I think Romney got so scared he messed his pants.

Oct 17, 2012 8:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Libicz wrote:
Well yes, generally, fewer people would watch the debates in 2012 than in 1980, because there are more sources of news and there is the Internet – I watched the debate on a Yahoo stream, and I imagine many tens of thousands did also.

In any case, Americans must be getting tired of this. The entire presidential nomination campaign, followed by the presidential bid takes at least a year.

In the British parliamentary system, electioneering takes six weeks at the most because there is a parliamentary opposition with a shadow cabinet that is constantly in the public eye. The populace can judge throughout a four or five year parliamentary session how party leaders
and caucus perform, and cast their vote accordingly.

Oct 17, 2012 8:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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