Sunday’s Connecticut U.S. senate debate between Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy was the most watched senate debate in our state this year and was the highest rated edition of Face the State in years, and the most watched program in its time slot, beating Meet the Press.
According to WFSB ratings guru Rob Luciano, Nielsen ratings show the debate received a 4.5 rating (about 45 thousand households) and an 11 share for the Hartford/New Haven market, which includes every county in Connecticut, except Fairfield County. Ratings went up midway through the debate, reaching a high of 5.0, 13 share at one point. Ratings for the debate in Fairfield County, part of the New York market, are not available. At this time we don’t know how many people across the country watched the debate on C-SPAN, and we are awaiting word on how many people watched via livestream on www.wfsb.com.
Comparisons to other debates in recent Connecticut history yield mixed results. Sunday’s debate viewership was significantly higher than the primary debates this year. Viewership was lower than the first Blumenthal McMahon televised debate of 2010, but higher than the second. Compared to the Lamont Lieberman debates of 2006, the McMahon Murphy debate outpaced the first ’06 contest, but not the second. Those debates also aired at 7PM, when the potential audience is larger.
There are three more debates between Murphy and McMahon, so we’ll have to see if voters become interested as the race goes on.
Moderator yours truly, and panelists Angela Dias of WTIC AM 1080 CBS Radio, Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, and Fran Schneidau from WCBS News Radio 880