Nielsen says 51.4 million watched VP debate

Oct 12, 2012

NEW YORK — Paul Ryan debating Joe Biden wasn't quite the same television draw as Sarah Palin versus Biden four years ago.

The Nielsen company said Friday that an estimated 51.4 million people watched the vice presidential debate on Thursday night. It was shown on 10 different television networks.

But that total falls well below the nearly 70 million people who saw the Palin-Biden debate in 2008. That event then was an anomaly. It had more viewers than even any presidential debate since 1992.

Excluding 2008, Nielsen said the Biden-Ryan debate had more viewers than any other vice presidential debate since 1984, when George Bush debated Geraldine Ferraro.