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It's been long long debate-filled wind up to the pitch of primary voting. The first official debate took place back in April, just a few short week's after baseball's opening day. Now in the postseason, not only has the debate novelty faded, but candidates must compete for television viewers with pitchers of a different sort. Of the party-sanctioned debates broadcast on cable networks, viewership has fluctuated between a low of just over 1 million for the Republican debate in Dearborn, Mich. earlier this month and a high of 2.8 million for the Democratic debate in Iowa in August. But the numbers were up again for last Sunday's debate, with 2.3 million viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen projections. That's a respectable tally compared to other similar events, especially given the competition: more than 19 million viewers who watched the Red Sox beat the Indians 11-2 to make it to the World Series.

Highest rating to date:
Number of viewers: 2,866,000
August 19, Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa
On ABC at 9 a.m.
Number of viewers: 2,866,000

Recent numbers:
Sept. 26, Democratic debate in Hanover, N.H.
On MSNBC at 9 p.m.
Number of viewers: 1,472, 000

Oct. 9, Republican debate in Dearborn, Mich.
On CNBC at 4 p.m.
Number of viewers: 1,020,000

Oct. 21 Republican debate in Orlando, Fla.
On Fox News Channel at 8 p.m.
Number of viewers: 2,367,000

Oct. 21, Red Sox vs. Indians
Game 7 of the ALCS
On Fox (game beginning at 8:19 p.m.)
Number of viewers for duration of the game: 19,154,000

Source: The Nielsen Company

By Washington Post editors  |  October 26, 2007; 3:21 PM ET
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