Fox pulled in 6.96 million viewers in prime time, while CNN averaged 2.42 million viewers, and MSNBC averaged 1.94 million viewers. That's 287 percent more than CNN and 358 percent more than MSNBC.
Stelter reported that the Nielsen Co. would not have comparison numbers against the broadcast networks until tomorrow, but early indications are that Fox would beat them, too.
Among viewers 25 to 54 years old, Fox News averaged 2.43 million in prime time, Stelter writes. CNN averaged 1.03 million among that demographic and MSNBC, 669,000.
Fox averaged 3.06 million viewers during the midterms in 2006, when there was a Democratic wave, Stelter reports. Fox has grown significantly in popularity since then.
CNN, by contrast, has shrunk — it had averaged 2.97 million viewers in the midterms in 2006. MSNBC’s prime-time averages were almost the same in 2006 and 2010.
(On the night of the presidential election in 2008, CNN averaged 12.3 million viewers in prime time, Fox averaged 9 million, and MSNBC averaged 5.9 million.)
The cable news channels’ ratings were inflated all day because of the election, but Fox ratings were inflated more than the others. Fox averaged 3.02 million viewers from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday.