Big Ratings For V.P. Debate

Nielsen has released preliminary ratings for last night's vice presidential debate, and they suggest higher interest in the debate between the prospective veeps than in last week's debate involving the men at the top of the ticket.

The combined overall household rating for last night's face-off in 55 of the 56 local television markets was 45.0 – compared to 31.6 for the Obama-McCain debate. A rating point equals one percent of the total TV audience.

Notes Nielsen: "The Baltimore market had the largest TV audience, with a household rating of 59.1, while the Los Angeles market had the lowest household rating: 34.4."

National ratings will be released later this afternoon; if they follow the local ratings, the Biden-Palin debate will be one of the most watched in history.