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Final McCain-Obama debate appears to have had fewer viewers than last week's

October 16, 2008 | 11:21 am

For all the hype and buildup, it appears the final showdown between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama didn't muster the same level of interest as last week's forum.

According to early data from Nielsen Media Research, 38.3% of households in the top 56 local markets were tuned in to Wednesday night’s debate at Hofstra University in New York.

That’s more than watched the first general election debate on Sept. 26, which drew 34.7% of households. But it’s less than the 42% of households that watched the second Obama-McCain matchup last week, which was the 10th most-watched presidential debate in history.

The culprit could be Major League Baseball. As Nielsen noted, “Wednesday night’s championship baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies — aired by Fox, instead of the debate — may have impacted the debate’s ratings.”

In Philadelphia, 43.7% of households tuned in for last week’s presidential debate, while just 32% watched Wednesday's forum. The baseball game drew 32.3%.

In the Los Angeles area, 10.2% of households were tuned to the game, while 29.2% of households watched the debate — slightly less than the second debate, which was viewed by 33.7% of L.A. area homes.

-- Matea Gold