Blumenthal-McMahon Face-Off Viewed in 78,000 Households

Posted October 5, 2010 at 4:41pm

The first head-to-head clash in Connecticut’s high-profile Senate contest was the buzz among many political observers in Washington, D.C. But just a fraction of Connecticut voters watched the Monday night showdown between former wrestling executive Linda McMahon (R) and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), according to ratings shared with Roll Call by the local Fox affiliate’s parent company.

CT1 Media reports that about 78,000 Nutmeg State households, a 7.8 household rating, tuned into the 7 p.m. live broadcast that aired in every region aside from Fairfield County, which borders New York and contains roughly one-third of all Connecticut households.

That’s a relatively strong number for the Monday night time slot, when about 40,000 local households typically watch reruns of the popular show “Two and a Half Men,” according to Steve Rabb, CT1’s senior manager of special projects and research.

But a 7.8 share is a far cry from reaching a majority of Connecticut voters.

There were more than 2.1 million registered voters in the state as of last October, according to the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office. That means the highly touted debate reached about 5 percent of the total electorate.

Of course, many won’t participate in this year’s elections. But for some additional perspective, more than 1.1 million voters turned out in Connecticut’s previous high-profile off-year Senate contest, which was the 2006 race that pitted Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman against Democrat Ned Lamont.

And a Fox debate that aired Oct. 16, 2006, attracted a 9 household rating, according to Rabb.

The numbers, of course, don’t include those who may have watched the debate streamed live on Fox’s website.

“There’s a great deal of interest in this contest,” Rabb said.

There are two more debates scheduled in this Senate race; the first is Thursday morning with the Business Council of Fairfield County. That’s expected to be carried live by a local radio station and streamed on the website of a local television station.

The second meeting is set for 7 p.m. next Tuesday in New London and will be aired live on local television.