March 27th, 2009
05:41 PM ET
6 years ago

Limbaugh's ratings spike amid Dem attacks

 Limbaugh's ratings are on the rise.
Limbaugh's ratings are on the rise.

(CNN) – A conservative media watchdog group says recent Democratic attacks on Rush Limbaugh may have given a big boost to the talk radio host's ratings.

According to the Media Research Center, stations that carry Limbaugh's day time talk show experienced a "dramatic surge" of listeners in February - the month when congressional Democrats and even President Obama publicly took swipes at the conservative talker.

"President Obama declared war on Rush Limbaugh and his ratings went through the roof," said Media Research Center's Brent Bozell. "If that's not a magnificent backfire, I'm not sure what is."

Democrats have been eager to paint the divisive Limbaugh as the de facto Republican leader, especially after the radio host's controversial statement that he hoped the president's economic policies would fail.

Obama himself warned congressional Democrats in late January that they need to "can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."


Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. Dazed

    WRONG! . "If that's not a magnificent backfire, I'm not sure what is." It is a bulls eye. The increase in Rush listeners is just the defeated muddling together. Should make them where a hat or something, so we can tell that they are dangerous and avoid contact...

    March 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Patrick, Lake Stevens, WA

    This is precisely what Limbaugh wants. Ratings are a huge part of his continued success with his followers. Other than that, it's all theater with no substance!

    March 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Johnny from VA

    People are hungry for leadership in the current vacuum...

    March 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Henry

    This is my problem with CNN. They quote Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. What they don't say is that Bozell is a staunch conservative.

    CNN should identify their sources and give the slant and affiliation of all their contributors, both of the Republicans and the Democrats.

    The news we get is not unbiased.

    March 27, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Jim

    Good for "Reps" They just Found their Real "LEADER" What a Blessing for Democrats

    March 27, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. From ct

    It's understandable, I tried hard not to view fox news during the election but found myself checking on it from time to time but now I will go out of my way to flip to click the following channel just so it doesn't even touch fox news, I wish I had a chip to take it out altogather that's how much they disgust me. But understandable he got a little spike none the less, hopefully after hearing his idiotic filth they won't want to touch that channel again.

    March 27, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Brian Crooks

    I personally don't think it was President Obama or Chief of Staff Emanuel's plan to tank Rush's ratings by calling him out. Of course, the Republicans are paranoid about everything the President does anyway, so I'm sure they truly believe he was out to destroy Rush Limbaugh's entire life and leave him broke and on a street corner. I think the President achieved what he set out to do. To this date, not a single elected Republican has stood up to Rush Limbaugh and told him that they disagree with him. Not one. I think that the "attack" on Rush was more to see whether elected Republicans would side with Rush or with the country, and we got our answer. Expect to see this storyline come back during midterm elections. Yes, Rush has a big audience and works hard to keep that audience. But just about everyone else who doesn't listen to him thinks he's completely disgusting.

    March 27, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Alex

    Gee, what a surprise. Despite his drug-fueled blustering, Obama's victory was exactly what Limbaugh wanted. However, I think it is inaccurate to say that Obama declared war on Limbaugh. Rush was attacking Obama long before Obama was even in office.

    March 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Sean

    "President Obama declared war on Rush Limbaugh and his ratings went through the roof," said Media Research Center's Brent Bozell. "If that's not a magnificent backfire, I'm not sure what is."

    Really? Obama "declared war" on Limbaugh? Give me a break. And frankly, I don't believe Limbaugh's ratings spiking has any bearing on the accuracy of the observation that he seems to be setting the agenda for the Republican Party these days. That's a truthful observation regardless of his ratings.

    March 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Zion

    That was the purpose of the attacks, ratings slump. Remember, he and Ann Coulter and the other righte wingers were losing their audience. You have to talk crazy to attract crazy.

    March 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Brent

    Limbaugh's a junky hack who's in the business of telling uninformed people what they want to hear. Neither a ratings spike, nor a ratings slump, adds or subtracts from this hack's lack of credibility or lack of knowledge.

    March 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. T

    A magnificent backfire??!? Totally logical explanation = many Dems (like me) who never would have listened to this guy, now begin to try to hear his show so they can try to figure out where he is coming from... of course, I end up being sickened by him (and would think most Dems would be) – but his ratings still increase.

    Not very magnificent.

    March 27, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. MARK WI.

    President Obama and his administration would be better off if they did not comment on MT. RUSHMOUTH bull...., keep him within listening distance though. By doing this I believe you will make the GOP and MT. RUSHMOUTH go stir crazy!!!!

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Zach

    Quite predictably, the back-and-forth between Obama et al. and Limbaugh has helped both among their respective bases. I would say the highest beneficiary is the one with the wider base. I wonder who that is...

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Steph

    People are just listening to see what the nut-job will say next. It's like watching a train wreck.

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Tarpon

    Funny comment about the "magnificent backfire"–as if higher ratings for a TV personality had anything at all to do with the dire situation the Republican Party finds itself in. Obama was not attacking Rush's TV ratings although judging from the comment that is apparently Rush's sole determinant of success.

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. Jim

    There's no backfire here. Helping Limbaugh actually hurts the Republican party and its candidates. He is so polarizing that the only people tuning in are right-wingers. You don't win converts by preaching to the choir, and that's all Limbaugh is doing. Bozell is a Bozo and remember, he's member of a conservation watchdog group. A lot of objectivity there!

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. dan

    Lifting Rush up to be the de facto leader of the GOP will never be a "backfire". It's more in line with setting up a permanent Dem majority. Rush isn't bringing a single new supporter to the GOP by being their leader.

    March 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. carlo

    When someone gets hurt because of the venom Limbaugh spews, perhaps people will start to consider that the people he insults are actual human beings that he puts at risk when he incites the nimwits that are his followers, dittos, whatever.

    March 27, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Sam Sixpack

    Why is he getting even more free airtime? Does someone need a strawman? Has is propaganda value not been used up yet?

    March 27, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Just because people tune into his radio show, that doesn't mean they agree with what he is saying. I listen to him from time to time just to see what kind of nonsense comes out of his mouth......it's great fun! The so called "ditto heads" are a small group in comparison to the number of Americans that are solidly behind President Obama. Nothing to worry about here.

    March 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Dakota, Lake Stevens, WA

    Hmmm...

    The surge in listeners a few months ago, was due to curiosity. Nothing more, nothing less, than idle curiosity.

    Just the same as someone looking into the toilet before or during the flush.

    Yes, flush Rush. Sorta rhymes, doesn't it.?

    March 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Kate in San Diego

    I don't think the democrats should waste their time even commenting on Limbaugh. The very fact they feel compelled to speak out each and every time he says something gives him a level of credibility he doesn't deserve. The man and his ideas are now irrelevant.

    March 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Steph

    Well, of course the ratings would spike. All of the rethuglican politicians need to listen so they know what to do next.

    March 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Ryan

    I would not say that it is a magnificent backfire.

    Democrats want to paint Limbaugh as the face of the Republican party, and the Republican politicians themselves seem to believe he is their de facto leader..
    If independents and moderate republicans unfamiliar with Limbaugh tune in, odds are they will be turned off by his ultra-Conservative views.

    An increase in Rush's ratings may very well help the Democrats get votes come election time.

    March 27, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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