Twitter interest drops off for final presidential debate

Twitter users sent 6.5 million tweets about the debates, reflecting a steady decline in Twitter activity since the first debate's 10.3 million tweets.

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The last of three debates between the presidential candidates also brought up the rear in Twitter activity.

During tonight's showdown between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Twitter users sent 6.5 million tweets regarding the debate during the event, the microblogging site said. That comes in well behind the 10.3 million tweets sent during the first presidential debate on October 3 but close on the heels of the 7.2 million tweets sent during the October 16 debate.

Tweets peaked around midway through the debate with 105,767 tweets per minute when Obama -- responding to a point made about the decline in the Navy's ship population -- said: "We also have fewer horses and bayonets."

The second busiest Twitter activity came at the end of the debate when moderator Bob Schieffer's quipped, "I think we all love teachers," generating 102,339 tweets per minute.

The declining Twitter interest in tonight's debate could reflect a voting public's waning interest in the election, or just that there were fewer moments worth mentioning. However, it's also possible that interest in the debates suffered in competition with two major televised sporting events: Monday Night Football and game 7 of the National League Championship series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants.

The debates did generate Web search interest, though. Google's top five rising searches of the night were dominated by debate topics and keywords:

  1. horses and bayonets
  2. Syria
  3. Mali
  4. drones
  5. tumult