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Record number of viewers watched McCain's acceptance speech

Friday, September 5, 2008

According to numbers released Friday by the Nielsen Media Research company, a record 38.9 million Americans watched John McCain accept the nomination for President of the United States from the Republican Party on Thursday at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

John McCain.
Image: United States Congress.
Sarah Palin
Image: Tricia Ward.

The previous record for American viewership during a political convention was set last month when Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination. About 38.4 million people watched Obama. On Wednesday, 37 million people tuned in to see vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speak.

Thursday's audience was 41 percent larger than the fourth day of the 2004 Republican National Convention, when 27.5 million people watched George W. Bush accept the nomination of his party for a second time.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the demographics of the viewers differed from Obama on Friday to McCain on Thursday. McCain's speech drew 19.2 million men, while Obama drew 17.9 million. Obama's speech drew 19.9 million women, while McCain drew 19.2. Among white viewers, 32.2 million watched McCain, while 27 million watched Obama. Among African American viewers, 7.5 million watched Obama, while 3.1 million watched McCain.

According to Reuters, the format by which Nielsen conducts its research — known as the Nielsen Ratings — has changed since 2004, adding two networks and factoring in people who watched the speech via a digital video recorder. According to the Los Angeles Times, people who watched coverage of the conventions on PBS were not counted. PBS estimates about 4 million people watch their coverage nightly during the convention.

ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, Univision, Telemundo broadcast on day four of the GOP convention. Univision and Telemundo, which broadcast in Spanish, were not included in 2004. In addition, BET and TV One, which covered day four of the Democratic convention did not cover the Republican convention.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.