The final Nielsen numbers are in. An estimated 51,419,000 people tuned in to watch Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan debate last night across 12 TV networks.
That’s down -27% from the 70 million who watched the one and only 2008 Vice Presidential debate between Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin. The most watch VP debate and tied for second-most watched of all debates. 12008 notwithstanding, last night’s debate had the highest VP debate viewership since the George H.W. Bush–Geraldine Ferarro debate in 1984. That debate nabbed 56.7 million viewers.
The Oct. 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan is the record-holder with 80.6 million tuning in, and that was only on three networks.