Quote ILuvNY: I don't think that present day ratings are a true reflection of the percentage of viewers. Many more woman are in the work force today then there were even 15 years ago, and there are many who tape/dvr/watch soapnet because they're working when the show airs. I don't think they have any way to determine who is taping the show(s) and watching it/them at a later time.
Yes, you are absolutely right. Ratings only capture the first time airing audience. (That was awkward!)
I know lots of people who record their favourite soap. Lucky for me, I live on the east coast, but get some west coast channels, so I can watch Y&R at 7:00 pm my time, instead of the actual airing time of 4:00 pm.