Record viewership for last night’s vice presidential debate.

Nielsen reports:

logo434.jpg On Tuesday night, 69.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the sole vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

The Biden-Palin matchup set a new V.P. debate TV audience record, beating the previous high of 56.7 million viewers set by the debate between Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and then-V.P. George H.W. Bush in 1984*.

Biden and Palin’s debate also surpassed the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, which drew an audience of 52.4 million last Friday night.

During the last presidential election in 2004, the vice presidential debate between V.P. Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards drew 43.6 million viewers.

Forty-five percent of households in the top local tv markets watched the debate. ABC had the top broadcast last night. Fox News topped the cable networks, with its “highest viewership in the network’s 12 year history.”