Washington, Oct.17 : The third and final presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama Wednesday night did not draw a landmark viewing audience. n adequate audience is more likely, reports the Washington Times. Overnight ratings in the nation's top 56 local television markets was 38.3 rating points, according to Nielsen Media Research.
One rating point equals 1 percent of the total TV audience in a given market - essentially, 38 percent of the viewers in those areas were tuned in.
In comparison, the second debate last week received 42 rating points while their first bout received 34.7. The 90-minute exchange Wednesday drew the largest audience in Baltimore, followed by Washington, St. Louis and Richmond. Viewers in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., had the least interest, Nielsen found.
But it was "Joe the Plumber" - one Joe Wurzelbacher of Ohio - who rattled the press into attack mode. Granted, the instant cultural icon gave multiple print and broadcast interviews and held a press conference following his unintentional debut on national television Tuesday.
When Obama stopped in his neighborhood, the beefy plumber asked spare but cogent questions, later referenced by McCain in mid-debate, prompting some pundits and strategists to designate him a "Republican hero."
For better or worse, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, ABC, CBS and other news organizations quickly investigated Wurzelbacher's tax records, professional licenses and work habits. Americans could be sighing with relief now that the presidential debate rite is over.
A CNN/Opinion Research survey of 620 adults who watched the debate on Wednesday revealed that 67 percent were just plain done with debates.
"Three is enough," the respondents said.