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Democratic convention's final night draws 35.7 million viewers

September 07, 2012|By Meg James
  • Family and friends join President Obama onstage Thursday night after his speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Family and friends join President Obama onstage Thursday night after his… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)

An estimated 35.7 million people watched President Obama accept his party's nomination Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., according to Nielsen.

The audience for the prime-time coverage of the final night of the Democratic National Convention eclipsed the 30.3 million who tuned in last week to see Mitt Romney speak at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. 

However, four years ago, an estimated 38.3 million viewers watched then-Sen. Barack Obama accept his party's nomination for president, according to Nielsen. Thursday night's audience level represented a 7% decline from 2008.  (The following week, in September 2008, nearly as many people -- 37 million -- watched coverage of the Republican National Convention to see vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin speak.)

PHOTOS: 2012 Democratic National Convention

The audiences for this year's conventions have been slightly older, which could be a troubling sign for Obama, who once again is looking to galvanize younger voters to turn out at the polls.

Half of those watching Thursday night -- 17.97 million viewers -- were over the age of 55.  In contrast, an estimated 5.4 million viewers ages 18 to 34 watched Thursday, down from an estimated 6.7 million in that demographic in 2008.

Once again, NBC drew the largest audience during the prime-time coverage Thursday, attracting an average 8 million viewers. ABC pulled in about 3.7 million viewers Thursday, and CBS averaged 3 million. 

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Thirteen networks, including several Spanish-language networks, broadcast Thursday's event:  ABC, CBS, NBC, BET, CNN, CNBC, Current TV, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, mun2, PBS, TV One and Univision.


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