March 27th, 2009
05:41 PM ET
5 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. Dan

    When you said "helps out Limbaugh" I thought you meant "helps to out Limbaugh." I thought he had announced he's gay! Funny thing is, I wasn't shocked.

    March 27, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Right Leaning Independent

    You gotta love that!!

    March 27, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. President Obama Brings It!

    Let Rush the Magic Wind Bag keep right on blowing. Maybe he'll blow the GOP right on out into the deep end of the ocean never to be heard from again. That would be really nice. He'll guarantee an Obama 2012 victory if the President chooses to run for another term, which I hope he does. Let us all be thankful for the Grand Old Poop!

    March 27, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Chris

    That is perfectly fine. The point is that the GOP is being defined in terms of Rush, and that will continue to deteriorate their electoral prospects. Ratings are made up of a very small group of die hard conservative radicals who will vote republican anyway, a group of GOP haters who will vote against the GOP anyway, and possibly some curious moderates who will not be moved by his hateful rhetoric. The more people who listen to what this man has to say, the better off the Democratic Party will be.

    March 27, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. R

    Wow! GOP, you have yet to see the backfire of this polarizing figure.

    March 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. major

    I don't know. I think the Obama ads are having the desired effect. Obama tells republicans that Rush Limbaugh is their leader. Then he says, "take me to your leader." And all the republicans happily oblige by scurrying in even greater droves to Limbaugh's radio show to receive their next marching orders. It seems Rush has been painted in his conservative little corner. He can't tell the republicans he ISN'T their leader because a.) the republicans don't otherwise have a leader and b.) it might effect his radio ratings. And he can't tell them he IS their leader because that plays into Obama's hand.

    I believe the proper chain of leadership in republican land is:
    Limbaugh, Jindal, and Palin.

    March 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Einar A. Elsner

    Media Research Center is known for its shoddy and suspect methods. Radio ratings are shoddy affairs anyway, so this to me is pure propaganda.

    March 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Rachelraye49 - MD

    Nobody really cares about Rush Limbaugh or his ratings. Obama didn't help him his followers did. Whomever and whatever they may be.

    March 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. podo3500

    Bin Ladin's rating are higher world wide and in America that those of the US President. That doesn't make him a good man? People as usually anxious to know the bad guys quicker than the Good ones. Limbaugh's high rating would be any surprise, for the evil imaginations and ramblings about the American President and his country?

    March 27, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Pete

    The self-aggrandizing blowhard Limbaugh is one reason why the Republicans got wiped out in the last 2 elections. True, Bush was the main reason, but Limbaugh's empty-headed rants and lack of ideas put the Democrats on the easy path to success. So let Limbaugh crow and grandstand and say the most insipid nonsense possible, and watch the Republicans continue to struggle. He isn't bright enough to see the damage he is doing to his beloved "right wing", and he will continue to shoot off his mouth, much to the delight of the progressives and moderates that dominate the political mainstream. And, beyond that, we all knew the GOP was doomed to defeat when they put an intellectual lightweight like Sarah Palin in as No. 2 for the last presidential election. Keep up the stupidity, Republicans, and watch the Democrats strengthen their hold on American politics for the next generation.

    March 27, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Cathy Brandes

    There is no accounting for taste – this man is spiteful, negative and I can't believe poeple actually by into his crap!

    March 27, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Patty

    This devout Demo takes some of that credit. I can't stand the blowhard, but I've started tuning in when I need a good laugh. In fact, I've told several like-thinking friends and they say the same: He's really one of us but a great comedian.

    March 27, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Ron

    When will the "liberal media" just leave Rush to Fox News and the DittoHeads? Come on CNN, grow some stones and report some real news (hint: that does not include neocon propaganda).

    March 27, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. D Va.

    Who cares about Rush Limbaugh's ratings. There will always be those who think he is "important and intelligent". I for one would hope that he is not an inspiration to any of my children or grandchildren. Of course he would not care, because he has no children. God works in mysterious ways.

    March 27, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Cochese

    "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."

    I'm pretty sure this is exactly what he was hoping for... I think Bozell completely missed the point of the strategy.

    March 27, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. Sean2

    The reasons for the spikes are because of the nuts that is just like Rush are coming out of the wood work and people want to hear what the head nut case sound like!

    March 27, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. charles

    It's prettty sad the Republican party has to depend on a drug addict to get their message out. Rush once again is doctor shopping and his employer needs to give him a urine test but of course, the Republican party is too desperate to even care.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Nikita

    All this while, I've been thinking it was congressional REPUBLICANS that Obama cautioned not to listen to Limbaugh. And I also thought that Rush Limbaugh said "I hope he [Obama] fails". Either way, wouldn't that put the country in much worse shape than it is right now? It's one thing to dislike Obama's economic policies because you believe they will fail but it's quite another to actively HOPE that the country goes suffers.

    Regardless, it's great to see CNN gets the facts right.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Jennifer in CA

    Just because Rush's ratings went up doesn't mean that his numbers of followers went up. The point of the campaign was to show Rush as an extremist and for moderates and liberals to connect that extremism with the Republican party. The additional exposure to Rush only will help strengthen the Democratic argument.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Chenna Benna

    "A conservative media watchdog group"

    This is like that commercial about "clean" coal that have fake spokesmen from the coal industry doing a commercial about how coal is "clean." I would like to see an independent report, please.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. St. Louis

    Just ignore him.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Michael

    Yea, it's great for Rush the entertainer but not so good for the conservatives. The people who enjoy rush have rallied to his cause. The cause of bigotry and hate of the outsider mostly. the downside would be that a lot more of the general electorate are now familiar with some of what Rush says on his show. and what he says is now ascribed to republicans at large; he just headlined the conservative convertion, no? So yea, his ratings are up. But what do you think becomes of a party who leading vioce is constantly making juvenile jokes about peoples names like a middle school student. I mean the people that like that will sort of thing will swarm to him but everyone else is going move as quickly as possible towards the exits.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Eric

    That's because Limbaugh is a nut job screaming crazy rants, it's like a car wreck that nobody can not look at.

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. MICHAEL

    The republicans need Rush. He's the face of their values: divorced 3 times and a drug addict. He wants people to do as he says, not as he does. He's als, by his own standards, Anti-American. When Bush was president he called anyone who didn't agree with the president Anti-American. Now he wants this president to fail. Anti-American or double standards? Those who listen to him have the inability to think for themselves. Isn't it a pity. I wonder what he'll say to God when he comes face to face with him and is asked "So how did you treat you fellow man, my children?"

    March 27, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. WKD

    People are obsessed the Octomom and stare at car crashes too. Doesn't mean they actually like or support what they're seeing (or hearing in this case). I think a good portion of the increase falls in the "love to hate" cateogry.

    March 27, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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