In 2008, John McCain got 38,933,000 total viewers for his acceptance speech, according to the Neilsen folks. This year, Willard Mitt Romney got only 30,251,000, only 77.7% of what McCain got four years ago.
One question I have that I'm sure Nielsen can answer (because they have for other events) is what the viewership numbers did over the course of the speech. I hope one of their subscribers thinks this is worth sharing with the rest of us.
There's one other comparison I think is worth doing, and that is: what's the change between 2008 and 2012 in viewership on the networks that low-information undecideds are most likely to be watching.
This year, Neilsen counted viewership on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News,Univision, MUN2 (another Spanish-speaking network), PBS, CNBC, and Current TV. (In 2008, the first seven were the same, but Telemundo was the only other network besides those seven that Nielsen counted.)
It's a safe bet that the Fox viewers are overwhelmingly in the GOP camp, the Hispanic viewers have largely self-deported from the GOP, and viewers of PBS, MSNBC, and Current TV are a mix of Dem voters and the occasional high-information undecideds, while CNBC is probably GOP voters and high-info undecideds. That leaves the three traditional TV networks plus CNN as the likely repositories of the low-info undecideds who could potentially swing this election to Romney.
And they were tuning out.
TV Newser has the following numbers:
Compared to the final night of the 2008 RNC it was a different story however. Fox News was just about flat compared to 2008, losing around -2% of its viewership, while NBC (-56%), ABC (-26%), CBS (-30%), CNN (-52%)and MSNBC (-25%) were down mid double digits.
From 10-until around 11:20PM, when all of the networks were televising the RNC, Fox News averaged 9.06 million total viewers, including 2.56 million adults 25-54. ABC News overtook NBC for the number two slot, averaging 4.44 million viewers including 1.61 million adults 25-54. NBC was next with 3.85 million viewers, including 1.46 million adults 25-54, followed by CBS with 3.73 million viewers, including 1.51 million adults 25-54. CNN drew 2.33 million total viewers and 903,838 adults 25-54, with MSNBC bringing in 1.88 million viewers, including 625,712 adults 25-54.
So between them, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN brought in around 14,350,000 viewers to Mitt's acceptance speech this year. This compares with about 24,930,000 for McCain's acceptance speech in 2008.
In other words, Romney got only 57.6% of the viewers for his acceptance speech that McCain got on those four networks in 2008.
Sounds like the low-information undecideds may be tuning Romney out. I'm good with that.