The World: New York - Presidential rivals draw record viewing figures

Viewers tuned in to the 2008 US presidential election political conventions in record numbers, research by Nielsen Media has shown.

Both presidential candidates set viewing records with their respective speeches, with the Republican John McCain just edging out his Democratic rival Barack Obama. McCain recorded 38.9 million viewers, while Obama's speech on 28 August pulled in 38.4 million total viewers.

In terms of the vice-presidential candidate speeches, the Republican nominee, Sarah Palin, delivered 37.2 million viewers to Joe Biden's 24 million.

Over the course of the conventions, the Republicans drew a bigger nightly audience, with 34.5 million tuning in, as opposed to the 30.2 million who watched the Democratic convention.