- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Presidential debate TV ratings adequate
Question of the Day
Only Joe the Plumber garnered some visceral reactions from the nation, perhaps. The third and final presidential debate between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama Wednesday night did not draw a landmark viewing audience.
An adequate audience is more likely.
Overnight ratings in the nation’s top 56 local television markets was 38.3 rating points, according to Nielsen Media Research. One rating point equals 1 percent of the total TV audience in a given market - essentially, 38 percent of the viewers in those areas were tuned in.
In comparison, the second debate last week between the White House hopefuls received 42 rating points while their first bout on Sept. 26 received 34.7 .
The 90-minute exchange Wednesday drew the largest audience in Baltimore, followed by Washington, St. Louis and Richmond. Viewers in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., had the least interest, Nielsen found.
• Explore different election-night scenarios with our ‘Road to 270’ interactive electoral college map
But it was “Joe the Plumber” - one Joe Wurzelbacher of Ohio - who rattled the press into attack mode. Granted, the instant cultural icon gave multiple print and broadcast interviews and held a press conference following his unintentional debut on national television Tuesday.
When Mr. Obama stopped in his neighborhood, the beefy plumber asked spare but cogent questions, later referenced by Mr. McCain in mid-debate, prompting some pundits and strategists to designate him a “Republican hero.”
For better or worse, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, ABC, CBS and other news organizations quickly investigated Mr. Wurzelbacher’s tax records, professional licenses and work habits.
“Take note, America. Speak out against Obama and the media will tear you down,” noted one blogger on the Houston Chronicle’s Web site.
Americans could be sighing with relief now that the presidential debate rite is over.
A CNN/Opinion Research survey of 620 adults who watched the debate on Wednesday revealed that 67 percent were just plain done with debates. “Three is enough,” the respondents said.
Meanwhile, the final debate provided an arena for traditional broadcast rivalries: Among the “Big Three” broadcast networks, NBC led with an average of 9.9 million viewers, followed by ABC with 9.3 million viewers and CBS with 8.4 million viewers. PBS drew 3.2 million viewers.
Among the cables networks, Fox News drew 9 million viewers, CNN 8.9 million viewers and MSNBC 3.7 million.
Some analysts speculated that baseball impinged upon the debates.
The Fox entertainment network broadcast Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between Los Angeles and Philadelphia opposite the McCain/Obama match; those cities rank No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in the number of TV viewing households.• Explore different election-night scenarios with our ‘Road to 270’ interactive electoral college map.
About the Author
- Inside the Beltway: Just a little media protection for the White House
- Some federal help for old American battlefields: $1.3 million to spruce them up
- Inside the Beltway: Frugal-phobic Congress offers 828 spending bills
- It's grim: 911 Commission warns terrorism has entered 'a new and dangerous phase'
- Inside the Beltway: The evolving White House deflection strategy
Latest Blog Entries
- A startling 20 percent of Democratic lawmakers already endorse Hillary Clinton for president
- Hey food police: calling obesity a 'disease' is actually a health risk
- Cheese and an 'enhanced experience': White House goes showbiz on the State of the Union address
- Cruz calls it a 'circus': the State of the Union spectacle begins
- Half of American fans say God and 'supernatural' forces are in play during sports events
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Russia sends Iraq fighter jets, helicopter gunships for ISIL fight after meeting in Moscow
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq