Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday as an estimated 38 million viewers watched on television, setting a new record for convention viewership, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Mr. Obama’s speech — a historic one given his status as the first African American nominee of a major political party — reached significantly more viewers than the comparable addresses in 2004. Coverage of John Kerry’s acceptance speech in 2004 had 24.4 million viewers; coverage of George W. Bush’s convention speech that same year drew 27.5 million.
The audience estimate of 38.3 million means that Mr. Obama’s speech reached more viewers than the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year, the Associated Press notes.
Furthermore, the four-night Democratic convention ranks as the most-watched convention of either party, Democratic or Republican, since Nielsen began measuring conventions in 1960.
Wow! More viewers than the Opening Ceremonies! And this does not count anyone watching PBS or C-SPAN or online. At one point, CNN had more people watching than any of the broadcast channels, another first.
People are really engaged in the election this year. I expect that the Republican National Convention will pull in big numbers.
Every so often in American politics, the people get very interested in an election. It appears this is one of them. I think we will see a higher percentage of eligible people voting than in a very long time.