by digby

Nielsen Ratings

* More than half a million more people watched John McCain’s acceptance speech (38.9 million) than Barak Obama’s the week before (38.4 million).

* Regarding the gender gap, significantly more men (17.9 million) watched McCain’s speech than Obama’s (16.2 million), while more women watched Obama’s speech (19.9 million) than McCain’s (19.2 million).

* More than 5 million more white viewers watched the McCain speech (32.2 million) than the Obama speech (27.0 million). Among African Americans, the reverse was true, with 4.5 million more African Americans watching Obama (7.5 million) than McCain (3.1 million)

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What does that tell us? You tell me.

Following up on tristero's post below about McCain keeping Palin away from the press, I'm also hearing a lot of rumbling in the media about the "immorality" of them not having access to Palin.

MATTHEWS: I think, Pat, we have to ask the questions of all the candidates. So let‘s get—let‘s get to the sweet spot. The stock market dropped 3,300 (SIC) points today. What are we going to do about it?

BUCHANAN: Well, 330.

MATTHEWS: No, what are we going to do about it?

BUCHANAN: It‘s 330.

MATTHEWS: What are we going to do about it? Those are legitimate questions. What are we going to do about it? What are we going to do about the...

BUCHANAN: I think those are not only legitimate questions, they‘re valid issues. Why is the dollar sinking? Why is the market going down? Why is—you know, housing, these are all economic...

MATTHEWS: So these are the questions that the candidate for vice president and candidate for president both should submit themselves to on the Sunday talk shows, the weekday talk shows, the radio shows. They should get out there and answer the questions. Pat, I‘m asking you the question.

BUCHANAN: All right...


MATTHEWS: Is Governor Palin responsible to the public to begin answering those questions or not?

BUCHANAN: What Governor Palin and John McCain ought to do is run the campaign they want to do, communicate in the ways they want to communicate.

MATTHEWS: You‘re not answering the question.

BUCHANAN: I‘m not. They don‘t owe you a damn thing, Chris Matthews.

MATTHEWS: See? That‘s the point! So we can‘t ask any questions...

BUCHANAN: You can ask...

MATTHEWS: ... from the candidates!

BUCHANAN: Ask them right into the camera.

MATTHEWS: This is an interesting kind of campaign, that the candidate for president will give a speech which everyone likes and then move on to what, the election? When is there a question put to the candidate, Pat?

BUCHANAN: You can ask her—reporters covering her can ask her questions. You can invite her on this show, “Larry King” “MEET THE PRESS.” But the campaign itself has got the right to decide how they communicate...


BUCHANAN: ... to the country that they want them to elect them.

MATTHEWS: So the references to Harry Truman last night about, If you can‘t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, are irrelevant.

BUCHANAN: No, you can say it right into the camera. You can say they can‘t stand the heat.

BUCHANAN: But you can‘t order her on this show...

MATTHEWS: Do you think it‘s appropriate for Pat to even suggest that we might have a candidate for vice president of the United States who would skip from the nominating convention to the election booth without submitting herself or himself to tough questioning from the press? Is that even an appropriate concept in a modern American democracy?

BUCHANAN: No, I‘m not suggesting that, I...

MATTHEWS: Well, I remember a campaign in 1968, where the Republicans had Bud Wilkinson (ph), the coach—football coach, asking—of Oklahoma, asking...

BUCHANAN: You know who wrote the questions?

MATTHEWS: You did. I know you did!


MATTHEWS: Now, that‘s a Pat Buchanan campaign.

BUCHANAN: There were hardball questions...

MATTHEWS: The campaign flack writes the questions for the candidate and has some -- (INAUDIBLE) coach, put the questions to the candidate. Boy, is that democracy!


BUCHANAN: Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes programmed it as a 28-year-old.

Look, Chris...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Pat. Tell me the whole biography of how a campaign should be run.

BUCHANAN: Here‘s what I‘m saying. In the White House, as White House communications director, you‘ve got an obligation to communicate with your people if you want to lead. Like Reagan, his basic format was speaking out, true speeches, and he wasn‘t as good at Q&A. Nixon was terrific at Q&A. He had primetime press conferences. We used those.

How McCain and Palin communicate—they‘ve got an obligation—is their own decision based on how they best win the presidency of the United States. You and I can say anything about them we want. We can ask questions...

MATTHEWS: But I‘m asking about if the American people have a right...

BUCHANAN: The American people aren‘t demanding it. You are.

MATTHEWS: Well, I‘m asking this. Do the American people have a right to see candidates for president and vice president submit themselves to tough questioning by objective journalists?

MATTHEWS: Yes or no. Do they have...

BUCHANAN: Do they have the right to have that kind of performance by the candidate, demanded of candidates?

BUCHANAN: I don‘t think it‘s the law of the land, no.

MATTHEWS: But do you think they have a right as—as people who vote in a democracy, to have the candidates submitted to tough questioning?

BUCHANAN: I think they can look at her and say, if she‘s not answering or he‘s not answering tough questions, I‘m concerned they don‘t know anything. I may not vote for them. But there‘s no moral obligation on them to...

MATTHEWS: Is there a political obligation?

BUCHANAN: No. No, there‘s not. You run a race to win.

MATTHEWS: This is extraordinary! This is extraordinary. But you were saying if Barack Obama were to run for president and not go on any show where he might face adversarial questioning, you wouldn‘t find a problem with that?

BUCHANAN: He just went on “O‘Reilly” for the first time today. They‘ve been begging him to come on Fox. The Democrats don‘t even go on Fox. You‘re scared to death of them!

Funny. As if submitting to Chris Matthews' questions ever told voters anything meaningful about the candidates.

They are going to work themselves into a frenzy over this. And the right will hold Palin off just long enough for the outcry to become deafening. And then Palin will appear in front of a gargantuan television audience (again) on something like 60 Minutes --- and do quite well. They are already working the media hard to make sure they don't go for the jugular -- and they won't.

People need to get over the idea that Palin's some kind of Britney Spears bimbo. She's a professional politician and from the looks of it, a pretty good one. She's not going to fall on her face on TV. They will build the expectations accordingly.

Update: Check this out:

A week ago, most Americans had never heard of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now, following a Vice Presidential acceptance speech viewed live by more than 40 million people, Palin is viewed favorably by 58% of American voters. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% hold an unfavorable view of the self-described hockey mom.


Perhaps most stunning is the fact that Palin's favorable ratings are now a point higher than either man at the top of the Presidential tickets this year. As of Friday morning, Obama and McCain are each viewed favorably by 57% of voters. Biden is viewed favorably by 48%.

There is a strong partisan gap when it comes to perceptions of Palin. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of Republicans give her favorable reviews along with 33% of Democrats and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

She earns positive reviews from 65% of men and 52% of women. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that Obama continues to lead McCain among women voters while McCain leads among men. The Friday morning update, the first to include interviews conducted after Palin's speech--showed the beginning of a Republican convention bounce that may match Obama's bounce from last week.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans believe that most reporters are trying to hurt Palin's campaign, a fact that may enhance her own ratings.

The Palin pick has also improved perceptions of John McCain. A week ago, just before he introduced his running mate, just 42% of Republicans had a Very Favorable opinion of their party's nominee. That figure jumped to 54% by this Friday morning. Among unaffiliated voters, favorable opinions of McCain have increased by eleven percentage points in a week from 54% before the Palin announcement to 65% today.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of all voters now believe that McCain made the right choice when he picked Palin to be his running mate while 32% disagree. By way of comparison, on the night after Biden gave his acceptance speech, 47% said that Obama made the right choice.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans say that McCain made the right choice while just 69% of Democrats said the same about Obama.

Among unaffiliated voters, 52% said that McCain made the right choice for his running mate and 45% said the same about Obama.

Forty percent (40%) now say that Palin is ready to be President, if necessary. That's up from 29% last week. Forty-nine percent (49%) say the same about Biden.

However, following the Wednesday night speech, voters are fairly evenly divided as to whether Palin or Obama has the better experience to be President. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters say Palin has the better experience while 48% say Obama has the edge. Among unaffiliated voters, 45% say Obama has better experience while 42% say Palin.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters say that Palin's speech helped McCain's chances of becoming President while only 10% believe it hurt those prospects.

She is their "star." And as much as they tried to turn that into a negative for Obama, they know that it has power in our culture. They want to manage it and control it. But they don't want to kill it. All they have to do is keep it going for 60 days.

And anyway, what I'm really puzzled about is McCain. Why in the world did more people watch that speech that Obama's? I confess, I really didn't expect that. Why would so many people want to watch another speech from that guy? Was that part of the Palin effect?