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36.1 million tuned in for Tuesday's election results

Ratings are the highest for a midterm election since 2002.

Fox News declares Sen. Ted Cruz the winner

Fox News declares Sen. Ted Cruz the winner in the 2018 Texas senate race between him and rival Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Nov. 6 in Dallas. Photo Credit: AP/Jeffrey McWhorter

There was a good election turnout on television, too.

The Nielsen company says that 36.1 million people watched midterm election results on TV, a whopping 59 percent increase over the last midterms in 2014. For the last midterm election during Barack Obama's presidency, an estimated 22.7 million people watched the counting.

Nielsen said on Wednesday it was the largest midterm election audience dating back to 2002.

Fox News Channel led the way with 7.78 million viewers. Not only did Fox have the biggest audience, it made the boldest move of any network in declaring that Democrats would take control of the House of Representatives far ahead of its rivals, and its election team proved to be correct.

NBC was second with an average of 5.69 million viewers in prime time. ABC had 5.26 million, CNN had 5.07 million, MSNBC had 4.75 million and CBS had 3.86 million, Nielsen said.

The broadcast networks sensed the interest, providing three hours of coverage, up from one hour in prime time during the more recent midterms.

There were also more networks covering the election results, including Spanish-language channels like Telemundo and Univision, than in previous years.

The solid numbers still fall short of the audience that tuned in for the presidential election two years ago. According to Nielsen, an estimated 71 million people watched on Nov. 8, 2016 when Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton faced off against each other.

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