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Nielsen has released an interesting breakdown and comparison of the audiences for the first presidential debate and the VP debate.

According to Nielsen, sixty-one percent of all U.S. households watched at least one of the two 2008 election debates aired so far. Of all households, 39% watched neither debate, while 30.3% tuned in to both, 11.2% of all homes tuned in to the presidential debate only, and 19.5% tuned in to just the V.P. debate.

Watching the debates, I've expected that the largest audience was tuning in for the first 30 minutes of the 90 minute debates, but according to Nielsen (above), audience levels have remained steady across the time period for both the VP and first presidential debates.

And indeed, according to Nielsen, more so-called hockey moms tuned in for the VP debate and to watch Sarah Palin. As Nielsen reports:

According to a Nielsen analysis released Tuesday, "hockey moms" -- defined as women ages 25 to 54 who live in homes with children and who watched at least six minutes of the most recent Stanley Cup Finals on NBC - were more likely than average moms to watch the first two debates of the 2008 election. Last Thursday, Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin's V.P. debate drew 23.8% of all mothers (ages 25 to 54), while 33% of those women defined as "hockey moms" tuned in. Overall, "hockey moms" were 38.7% more likely than average moms to have watched the V.P. debate.