GOP convention outdraws Democratic confab among viewers. An average of 22.6 million watched the Republicans last week, compared to 20.4 million for the Democrats last month

By Gary Susman
September 04, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

With the presidential election two months away, many at home have already voted with their TV remotes. According to Nielsen, viewers voted for the Republicans, with last week’s GOP convention in New York drawing a combined average of 22.6 million on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC. July’s Democratic convention in Boston averaged just 20.4 million. To compare the two candidates, President George W. Bush drew 27.6 million viewers for his convention-capping acceptance speech, while Sen. John Kerry drew 24.4 million for his nomination speech in July.

The Democrats averaged a nearly identical audience four years ago (20.6 million), while the Republicans saw a jump from 19.2 million viewers in 2000.

Noteworthy among the Republican convention’s ratings is the fact that more viewers watched Fox’s coverage on cable than watched the coverage on any of the three broadcast networks. Bush’s speech on Thursday drew 7.3 million Fox viewers, compared to 5.9 million on NBC, 5.1 million on ABC, and 5 million on CBS. Fox News said it was the sixth most-watched broadcast in the channel’s history, with the top five all stemming from last year’s Iraq War coverage.