Framing Science

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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.

Comments

  1. #1 Anon
    October 8, 2008

    What % of the audience fell into that category? If we define “hockey moms” as having watched, say, 10 minutes rather than 6, how do the statistics change? If we make it 30 minutes? Each definition changes N, of course, and changes the sampling variability. I am always suspicious of reports that do not A) include N, or B) explain why an arbitrary “six minutes” was the defining cutoff.

  2. #2 Moopheus
    October 8, 2008

    “If we define “hockey moms” as having watched, say, 10 minutes rather than 6, how do the statistics change?”

    It’s Nielsen, so they must know that nobody watched more than six minutes.

  3. #3 Pondoora
    October 8, 2008

    I hope someone has researched a possible connection between Sara Palin and the Aryan Nation.

    Her parents moved from Sandpoint, Idaho to Alaska in 1964, but for some reason Palin returned to the Idaho panhandle in the early 1980s to attend North Idaho College. By this time, the region had become a Mecca for white supremacists. From the 1970s until 2001, the Aryan Nation headquarter was a 20 acre compound at Hayden Lake, Idaho, 40 miles south of Sandpoint.

    As a local resident, it is possible that she associated with these people and their sympathizers to some degree. I suspect it is likely, given her obvious, deep connections to the area. The white supremacist mentality was (still is?) a definite fixture in the Idaho panhandle and believers are scattered throughout the region. For a white, conservative young woman with longstanding ties to the area, association couldn�t be avoided.

    The question is, how much of that doctrine does she actually believe? At the very least, I would like to hear this item addressed by the media, or by Palin herself.

  4. #4 Anonymous
    October 8, 2008

    6 minutes was the cutoff because of the way Nielsen gathers data. The smallest unit of time they use to report is the quarter hour, and you count as a viewer if you watched more than 5 minutes of the quarter hour – in other words, you weren’t just channel surfing during some other show’s commercials.

    Other than the biggest markets, where Nielsen families’ viewing might be tracked by chips in their tv or remote control, most markets are surveyed by diary. So this is mostly a restriction of pragmatism in data collection.

  5. #5 Pondoora
    October 8, 2008

    I am extremely concerned about Sara Palin and particularly suspicious of her because I know the history of the Idaho panhandle. Does anyone know if there has been an investigation into possible connections between Palin, her family, and the Aryan Nation?

    Her parents moved from Sandpoint, Idaho to Alaska in 1964 when she was a baby, but for some reason Palin returned to the Idaho panhandle in the 1980s to attend North Idaho College. Why did she pick that school?

    During the years she was attending college in Sandpoint, the region was a Mecca for white supremacists. From the 1970s until 2001, the headquarters of the Aryan Nation was a 20 acre compound at Hayden Lake, Idaho, 40 miles south of Sandpoint.

    She must have had deep ties to the area.

    As a conservative young college student, did she associate with any Aryan Nation members or their sympathizers? Who were her friends? The white supremacist mentality was a fixture in the panhandle during that time, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. This is a small, tight knit community.

    Have her past associations in Idaho been thoroughly investigated?

  6. #6 movie fan
    October 10, 2008

    it would be dangerous for the GOP to reschedule another VP debate… the more unscripted air time Palin gets, the more time people will have to realize that she couldn’t answer a question about any of the major issues if her life depended on it. the prospect of her becoming the Commander in Chief is frightening