120 Million People Tuned In To Convention Coverage: Nielsen

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Almost two-thirds of all U.S. households watched at least one of this summer’s Democratic and Republican National Conventions and nearly 34% tuned in both conventions, according to data released Friday by The Nielsen Co.

A total of 73.2 million homes and 120.1 million people watched at least some of the convention coverage

Cable news networks’ coverage of the conventions garnered record-breaking ratings, particularly on the nights that Sen. Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination for president and Gov. Sarah Palin accepted the nod as the GOP’s vice presidential hopeful.

Nielsen’s study found that homes that watched both conventions were more likely to headed by someone 65 years or older. These same heads of household also had completed the most formal education, with more than 32% holding college degrees. Those watching only one convention were fairly comparable on both education and head-of-household age, Nielsen said, within a point or two.

Homes that only tuned to the Republican National Convention were more likely to have higher incomes—defined as $100,000 or more annually—to have a larger household size (four-plus members), to be white, to own a DVR and to have a head of household with higher education (four-plus years of college) and aged 35-54.

Meanwhile, homes that only tuned into the Democratic National Convention were more likely to have a lower income—defined as less than $20,000 annually—to have a smaller household size (two members), to be African American and to have a head of household who is younger than 35 and has less education (one to three years of college).

About one-fifth (21.2%) of the DNC-only homes were headed by an African American. 83.5% of the RNC-only homes were headed by someone who is white.

Over 70% of African American homes tuned to at least one of the conventions, including 35.7% that tuned into both, more than each of the other ethnic breaks. Meanwhile 27.4% tuned in only to the DNC and 8.1% tuned in only to the RNC.

White homes had the second-highest reach to both conventions (34.5%), and were the only ethnic break to have a higher percentage of partisan tuning to the RNC (16.2%) than the DNC (13.6%).

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