The Caucus’ Jim Rutenberg looks at debate ratings…
But how many people watch these debates anyway? Ratings show that the total is more than usually watch a cable television program and considerably more than the number tuned in around this point in the 2004 race.
But it is also far fewer than tune into the average network sitcom, and less than might be expected in a race in which both the Republican and Democratic nominations are up for grabs.
The most-watched debate so far was the Republican event in Durham, N.H., on Sept. 5, which drew an audience of 3.1 million to Fox News Channel, according to Nielsen data. At this point in 2003, a Democratic debate on CNN drew a record audience of 1.8 million.
Over all, the audiences for the major televised debates this year have ranged from less than a million to fewer than three million people.