The Washington Times - October 8, 2008, 07:29PM

Vice-president trumps president on the American audience applause meter. Here are the TV ratings numbers so far in the great presidential debate derby, according to Nielsen Media Research:

• 70 million tuned in to witness Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin take on Sen. Joe Biden on Oct. 2.
• 63.2 million watched Sen. John McCain debate Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday night.
• 52.4 million watched the presidential pair in Debate No. 1 on Sept. 26.

Do we care? A Gallup survey revealed last week that historically, debates don’t much influence our choices in the polling booth. Hair-raising times, though, may change that Gallup said. And maybe Mr. Obama won Tuesday’s match, maybe not.

“Obama bores his way to victory,” noted Tina Brown at her Web site, “The Daily Beast.”

— Jennifer Harper, National Desk reporter