Television viewing on Election Night has changed dramatically over the years, considering the expansion of technology and the number of different channels available to the average home. In 1960 for example, in the close race between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, most U.S. homes had only a few channels available so the Election Night returns captured virtually all the audience with more than 65% of all homes tuning in. Now with more than 40 channels available to the average home, the percentage of homes watching political coverage (as seen in the combined rating column) has gone down.
Numbers for coverage of Barack Obama and John McCain’s race for the White House will be released Nov. 5.
|2004||ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC||34.5||37,856,000|
|2000||ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, MSNBC||40.2||40,914,000|
|1996||ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN||25.8||24,940,000|
|1992||ABC, CBS, NBC||39.8||36,900,000|
|1988||ABC, CBS, NBC||25.9||23,414,000|
|1984||ABC, CBS, NBC||35.9||30,479,000|
|1980||ABC, CBS, NBC||46.4||37,074,000|
|1976||ABC, CBS, NBC||51.6||36,739,000|
|1972||ABC, CBS, NBC||45.4||29,419,000|
|1968||ABC, CBS, NBC||58.5||34,076,000|
|1964||ABC, CBS, NBC||55.7||29,311,250|
|1960||ABC, CBS, NBC||65.7||29,796,000|
|Source: © 2008 NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH; Nielsen Tunes into Politics 1992, NTI Television Audience, 1960 and 1964 NTI Pocketpieces|