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Debate Ratings: Fox News Sets Record

With its highest-rated presidential debate on record, Fox News tops its cable competitors and draws a larger audience than most networks

While Democratic and Republican partisans can argue about who came out on top during Wednesday night's debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, there's no denying who the victor was when it came to cable ratings.

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Fox News Channel took home the ratings gold for Wednesday night's political back-and-forth, according to Nielsen Media Research, easily besting its cable competition CNN and MSNBC, and surpassing the networks' total viewership during the actual debate.

Wednesday's debate, which was Fox's highest-rated president debate, drew 10.4 million total viewers, with 2.9 million of them in the key news demographic of 25-54. That put the network far ahead of CNN, which drew 6 million total viewers (with 2.4 million in the 25-54 demo) and MSNBC, which posted 4.7 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the demo.

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In terms of total viewers, Fox News also topped most of the networks, save for ABC, which drew 11.3 million total viewers for the debate .

Overall, in Wednesday night's primetime (the debate ran from 9 to 10:30 p.m. EDT), Fox News topped its cable competition with an average 8.2 million total viewers, with 2.2 million in the demo.