More than 1-in-5 TV Households Watched Obama Last Night
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 08:11:23 AM EDT
Nielsen has the details:
The combined overall household rating for Senator Barack Obama's Wednesday night infomercial, in the top 56 local television markets where Nielsen maintains electronic TV meters, was 21.7.
Obama's simulcast is the first to be aired by a presidential candidate since Ross Perot ran a political telecast on Election Day in 1996. That program was watched by 16.8% of all households nationwide.
Ross Perot also ran a series of 15 political telecasts during the 1992 presidential election.
In comparison, the final debate between the two presidential candidates received a 38.3 household rating in the top 56 local TV markets. The candidates' first debate on September 26 received a 34.7 household rating in the top 55 markets; their second debate, on October 7, received a 42.0 household rating in those markets.
Nearly a third of television households in the Philadelphia market tuned into the Obama event immediately preceding the World Series, making the market Obama's second best for the evening. Other swing areas in the top-10 included West Palm Beach (second), Greensboro, NC (fifth), St. Louis (sixth), Washington, DC (seventh), and Boston (ninth), with the latter two bleeding into swing states.
The pundits on the cable nets may try to discount the power of the broadcast. However,
Obama was not trying to convince the Beltway cognoscenti with his event -- he was trying to reach voters who might otherwise not have been reached. So the fact that what appears to have been tens of millions of people tuned in last night to a program with Oscar-like production values laying out a cogent case for why Barack Obama should be elected the next President of the United States cannot be a bad thing for the Obama campaign.