Mitt Romney wasn't the only one to walk away with a victory at the New Hampshire primary.
As it did with the Iowa caucus last week, Fox News Channel scored a handy win over its competitors with its coverage of Tuesday's primary in the 8 to 11 p.m. slot, according to preliminary numbers. In the key adults 25-54 demographic, Fox averaged 550,000 total viewers. Its nearest competitor, CNN, averaged 401,000 total viewers in the demo, while MSNBC placed third with 245,000 viewers in the demo.
In total viewership, Fox News' win was even more decisive. Fox doubled CNN's performance, averaging 2.25 million total viewers versus CNN's 1.11 million total viewers. MSNBC averaged 1.05 for the political showdown.
The silver lining for CNN? While the cable network might have come in second overall, it appears to have enjoyed the most pronounced ratings improvement versus regular programming with its New Hampshire primary coverage. CNN's total viewership Tuesday night was up 106 percent over its average of 541,000 for the past four Tuesday nights (excluding the Iowa caucus coverage on Jan. 3), while MSNBC received a much smaller 17 percent boost, and Fox increased just four percent. Likewise, in the key demo, CNN enjoyed a 164-percent spike versus the past four weeks, compared to MSNBC's 21 percent boost and Fox's 15 percent hike.
CNN's recent surge is somewhat dampened when its performance is compared to the 2008 New Hampshire primary. While CNN, Fox and MSNBC are all down compared to the New Hampshire primary four years ago, CNN has seen the most dramatic decline, with a 70 percent drop in the key demo, compared to MSNBC's 62 percent slip and Fox's 38 percent decrease.