Who knew? Baltimore truly tuned in to the presidential debates
On the list of noncompetitive states in this year's presidential campaign, Maryland ranks right up there. In the heavily Democratic state, a mid-September poll showed Barack Obama 23 percentage points ahead of John McCain.
The lack of a race for Maryland's 10 electoral votes, however, did not deter folks living in and around Baltimore from being the nation's most interested audience for the just-completed presidential debate series.
In the Nielsen Co.'s viewership ratings for the nation's major markets, the city and its surrounding communities ranked first twice (for Wednesday's wrap-up Obama/McCain encounter and the Oct. 2 face-off between vice presidential rivals Joe Biden and Sarah Palin) and third twice (for the other two debates featuring the tops of the tickets).
The St. Louis market gave Baltimore a run for its money in the viewership derby. A higher percentage of TVs in the St. Louis area were tuned to the first presidential debate, on Sept. 26, than anywhere else in the nation. And it ranked No. 2 for the vice presidential debate and No. 3 for Wednesday's forum.
But something diverting must have been going on in the Gateway City when McCain and Obama met for their second debate on Oct. 7 -- it placed 11th in viewership for that one.
The Times' Matea Gold has more on the debate ratings at our Show Tracker blog.
— Don Frederick