Opinion: Friday’s Barack Obama-John McCain debate not a big draw


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For much of America, Friday nights in the fall mean one thing: High school football.

And even for Americans with no interest in that particular diversion, Friday nights -- in any season -- mean it’s time to put the work week behind and get out of the house.


So it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that for all the intense interest surrounding the 2008 presidential campaign -- and for all the extra drama added by the financial crisis now framing the election -- estimated viewership of Friday night’s debate between John McCain and Barack Obama set no records.

In fact, it didn’t even crack the Top Ten list for such enounters.

The Nielsen Co. reported today that about 52.4 million folks viewed the McCain/Obama faceoff.

The record it didn’t come close to breaking: the 80.6 million who dialed in for the 1980 Jimmy Carter/Ronald Reagan debate.

The Times’ Matea Gold has more on the viewership figures at our Show Tracker blog.