ABC 7 wins election night ratings

Bruce Rauner

Bruce Rauner

Although not quite by the landslide margin of previous election nights, WLS-Channel 7 again was the people’s choice for its assured and proficient coverage of Tuesday’s election.

Nielsen overnight ratings showed the ABC-owned station leading the market from 10 to 11:30 p.m. when Chicago’s five major players were competing with live local reportage.

Viewers in 765,000 households — or 40 percent of those watching television — were tuned to one of the five stations during the 90-minute block that included the declaration of Republican Bruce Rauner’s victory for governor over Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.

Led by veteran news anchors Ron Magers and Kathy Brock, who always shine on nights like these, ABC 7 benefitted from the strongest lineup of reporters in the field and the most experienced production team behind them. All that was lacking was a bit more pizzazz in the selection and deployment of the station's in-studio analysts.

Close behind ABC 7’s fine-tuned machine was WMAQ-Channel 5, where political editor Carol Marin and former Sun-Times political reporter Dave McKinney (who quit the paper over a Rauner-related flap) flanked news anchors Allison Rosati and Rob Stafford. Among viewers between 25 and 54, the NBC-owned station finished first from 10 to 11:30 p.m.

Alone among all local stations during prime time — starting straight up at 7 p.m. — was WGN-Channel 9, with Chris Robling, the Chicago Republican strategist, responsible for some of the night’s most engaging analysis. Energetically anchored by Mark Suppelsa and Micah Materre, the Tribune Media station’s local coverage outpaced all the networks in the ratings during the 9 p.m. hour.

Here are Nielsen audience averages from 10 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday:

  • ABC 7 6.5 rating (226,024 households) 11.7 share
  • NBC 5 6.0 rating (208,638 households) 11.0 share
  • WGN 4.9 rating (170,387 households) 9.2 share
  • CBS 2 3.4 rating (118,228 households) 6.3 share
  • Fox 32 1.2 rating (41,727 households) 2.3 share