Veep debate draws 51.4 million viewers

Turnout is no match for 2008 edition with Sarah Palin

Paul Ryan was no match for Sarah Palin when it came to drawing viewers to the vice presidential debate.

Thursday’s faceoff between GOP hopeful Ryan and incumbent veep Joe Biden averaged 51.4 million viewers across 12 broadcast and cable networks. The 2008 veepee debate averaged 70 million viewers, fueled by public interest in Palin.

Fox News likely drew the largest overall aud with an average of 10 million viewers form 9-10:30 p.m. MSNBC brought in 4.37 million, followed by CNN with 4.14 million. (Final national ratings for the live coverage on the Big Three broadcast nets were not immediately available.)

The bulk of the viewership was older viewers 55-plus (26.7 mil), compared to only 7.1 million in the 18-34 demo.

Before the Biden-Palin meeting in 2008, the most-watched VP debate was the 1984 bout between George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro, with 56.7 million viewers.

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