Viewership For Ryan’s Speech Below That For Palin’s

Last night’s penultimate hour of convention coverage drew far fewer viewers than the night that Sarah Palin spoke in Minneapolis:

Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, drew fewer viewers than the 37.2 million that nominee Sarah Palin attracted four years ago.

The final hour of convention coverage last night attracted slightly more than 20 million viewers, according to Nielsen data reported by two websites, TV Newser and TV by the Numbers.

Palin, then governor of Alaska, was new to national politics when John McCain chose her as running mate in 2008, generating public anticipation over her speech. Ryan is well known as chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leader of GOP efforts to reform Medicare. He was among the people widely mentioned as possible nominee.

News Corp.’s Fox News led the networks with 7.7 million viewers, according to the reports. Comcast Corp’s NBC network was second with 4.15 million in the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. hour, when Ryan spoke.


Among the other news outlets covering the convention,Walt Disney Co’s ABC attracted 2.86 million and CBS Corp’s network averaged 2.56 million, according to the two websites. On cable, Comcast’s MSNBC attracted 1.44 million viewers and CNN, owned by Time Warner Inc. grabbed 1.34 million.

Actually the 20 million or so viewers for the 10pm hour last night was roughly equivalent to the viewership for Tuesday night’s broadcast featuring Ann Romney and Chris Christie. Perhaps this is another sign that voters are tuning this election out.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Fiona says:

    Plain had two things Ryan lacks–boobs. And charisma.

  2. Jr says:

    Not surprised.

    Palin may be a dunce, but she is good-looking and has charisma.

  3. Peterh says:

    Caribou Barbie is easy on the eyes, yet hard on the ears….but that’s the beauty of a remote….change the channel and/or the volume… will….

  4. rh says:

    OK, an incredibly minor point, but the 2008 RNC was in SAINT PAUL, not Minneapolis

  5. Now that you mention it, I’ve been trying to figure out at what level this is most disturbing:

    ‘Honey Boo Boo’ ratings top Republican National Convention

    It’s the kind of thing that makes me think we’ve poisoned ourselves with tainted crops.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    Paul Ryan just didn’t dress right. He should have shown up bare-chested and wearing black leather. (Guh, now to get that image out of my head. Freddy Mercury he ain’t.)

  7. al-Ameda says:

    Frankly, Palin does the pageant walk in high heels better than Ryan does.

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I’m actually surprised the audience for Ryan was that many people. It’s been clear for a few months that Zombieland has tuned out this election. As for the Palin vs. Ryan comparison, people in ’08 had a lot more time on their hands, far less of a need to be searching for jobs instead of watching the tube, and, yes, Zombieland four years ago was a little smarter and a little more engaged than Zombieland today. That and never underestimate the selling power of T&A.

  9. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @john personna: No, it’s just a reflection that Russia is not the only nation that “gets the kind of government [its people deserve].”

  10. CSK says:

    Palin was then what she is now–a novelty act. Honey Boo Boo grown up, maybe. More people watched her for that reason.