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67.2 Million Watched the First Presidential Debate 67.2 Million Watched the First Presidential Debate

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Campaign 2012

67.2 Million Watched the First Presidential Debate


President Barack Obama answers a question as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listens during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Nielsen estimated that about 67.2 million people tuned into the first presidential debate on Wednesday, which is a 28 percent increase from the first debate in 2008, Politico reports.

Interestingly, the second debate in 2008 garnered 10.8 million more viewers than the first. After what some analysts have called a weak performance, President Obama is looking to tweak his debate strategy for the next faceoff with Mitt Romney on Oct. 16.


The highest-rated debate, according to Politico, was in 1980 between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which had 80.6 million viewers.

The ratings were based on those watching ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, PBS, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CurrentTV and CNBC. They do not include those who watched online.

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