09/19/2008 11:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why the Conventions Mattered

You may have seen these statistics on other political blogs by now, but Nielsen released some very helpful ratings statistics on the conventions that help explain why they continue to cause "bumps" and move public opinion in significant (if not necessarily lasting) ways. They looked more closely at the cumulative audience and the percentage that watched just one convention or the other:

  • Nearly two thirds of all U.S. households (64.5% or 73.2 million homes) tuned into at least one of the 2008 political conventions. This is about 120.1 million people. Viewership levels for the two conventions were essentially tied, with about half of all households watching each one.
  • 15.0% of all households tuned to just the RNC, and 15.7% tuned to just the DNC. Another 33.9% of all households tuned to both conventions
At seventy three million, the cumulative convention audience exceeds that for the first Bush-Kerry debate four years ago (62.5 million) and every other debate except the Reagan Carter debate in 1980. ]