Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum Double CNN's Numbers, But Fox Wins Super Tuesday Ratings

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum's duel for Ohio doubled CNN's normal numbers, but Fox News still won the night. Overall, the ratings were off from last Super Tuesday

After hours of analyzing Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and every precinct in Ohio, both Fox News and CNN have claimed victory in the Super Tuesday ratings.

Fox not only beat its cable rivals but edged NBC in total audience.

Yes, that was NBC (not just MSNBC). Fox edged NBC’s election special in the 10-11 p.m. ET time slot 2.61 million to 2.56 million total viewers. Roger Ailes’ network also dominated its cable rivals, averaging 2.8 million viewers in prime time — about what MSNBC and CNN drew put together.

However, Fox struggled in the key adults age 25-54 demo, where NBC crushed it (and Fox's rivals were closer than in total viewers). Fox averaged 730,000 in the demo during prime time, and 711,000 at the 10 p.m. hour. NBC brought in 1.2 million.

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Meanwhile, CNN got the biggest bump of any network from a normal night. It edged its rival over at 30 Rock, drawing 1.48 million viewers during prime time to MSNBC’s 1.36 million. It also took 512,000 in the demo to MSNBC’s 381,000.

CNN’s take on its numbers is that the network showed far and away the most growth when compared to an average Tuesday.

That signals two things – people come to CNN for big news and CNN gets bad ratings much of the time (or at least on Tuesdays). CNN’s viewership increased 105 percent in total viewers from the “prior three non-event Tuesday averages” while MSNBC was up 28 percent and Fox 22 percent. In the demo the numbers were 112, 24 and 41 respectively.

Fox would counter that the better gauge would be a comparison to the last Super Tuesday.

By that metric, Fox only declined 5 percent overall and 12 percent in the demo, while CNN dipped 60 percent overall and 68 percent in the demo.

The one thing that is clear: viewership was down, making Super Tuesday a little bit less super.