Can I find the Nielsen Ratings at the library?
Parts of the "Nielsen Primetime Ratings Report" are periodically published in the Daily Variety. To find a database that includes Daily Variety, go to the library's homepage, click on Find Journals, type Daily Variety in the search box. Select a database that has the dates you wish to search. In the search box, type Nielsen. It's not the full report, but it covers prime time television. The feature is usually published weekly.
As of Fall 2013, Nielsen does not offer its full data to academic libraries. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive, searchable source for TV ratings available through American University.
Several sources on the Web list the top twenty or so Nielsen-ranked television shows. Take a look at http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/ (click on the "Ratings" tab).
For additional public opinion data, take a look at the Library's Subject Guide for Polls and Public Opinion.