The Blog

Democratic Convention Nielsen Ratings

3:40 PM, Aug 28, 2008 • By GARY ANDRES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

I'm sitting in the Xcel Energy Center watching the birth of a convention hall--a cacophony of hammers, drills and "testing one, two, three" suggests the Republican Convention is just days away.

The media presence in these halls is always impressive. Modern conventions are, after all, largely media events. AP, BBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and Fox sky suites stand at various stages of completion--with technicians setting up cameras, cables, and video monitors. And right above the Thompson-Reuters and AP suites, the Al Jazeera Channel has a box too. It's still dark--maybe they had a late night of pre-convention festivities?

All this led me to wonder who is watching the festivities. Nielsen's new website contains some interesting data on viewership. No results are available yet on last night, but a couple highlights from days 1 and 2:

Almost 26 million people watched the second night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention--a 16% increase from 22.3 million viewers on the opening night of the convention.

Tuesday night's speeches, which featured Senator Hillary Clinton's much anticipated keynote address, continued to draw a large proportion of African Americans (12.7% of all African American viewers tuned in).

Mark Blumenthal at highlights how African American watching of this week's Democratic convention compares to the rest of the population:

African Americans continue to watch the convention in a higher proportion than the rest of the population (the African American rating, or percentage of the African American population watching, was 12.7 vs. a 9.0 for the population as a whole).

According to historical data on the Nielsen site, over a million more households watched the Republican Convention than the Democratic Convention in 2004. Democrats drew more viewers, however, in 2000.

Tonight's Obama-Palooza at Invesco Field should smash all the old records--if for no other reason just to see if the Democratic nominee wears a toga to match the Greek columns.