McCain, not Palin, is No. 2

John McCain was a hit on “Saturday Night Live,” just not as big a hit as his running mate.

The Republican, who poked fun at his presidential campaign’s financial shortcomings and his reputation as a political maverick in Saturday’s appearance, led the show to its second-best overnight ratings since a December 1997 holiday episode.

NBC estimated that when the final national viewer estimate is known later this week, it will be a little less than 12 million people. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s appearance two weeks ago was seen by 15 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.