October 30th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama ad a ratings success

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/30/art.obamaad.cnn.jpg caption="Obama's 30 minute ad was watched by nearly 30 million people."](CNN) - The major networks may just wish Barack Obama took up more airtime after taking a look at the ratings for the Democratic presidential candidate's 30-minute infomercial Wednesday night.

According to preliminary ratings numbers from the networks, more than 26 million people watched the program on CBS, NBC or Fox. That's 3 million more than usually watch those networks at that hour, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Averaging in the cable networks that also carried the event, about 30 million people in all saw the long-form campaign ad.

The ad was most watched on NBC, where nearly 10 million viewers tuned in. More than 8.5 million watched on CBS while just under 8 million viewed the program on Fox. On average, about 7 million people usually tune into each network at that hour.

Overall, according to Nielsen, for the six networks that aired the infomercial simultaneously, it scored a household rating of nearly 22 percent - meaning 22 percent of all households watching television at that hour tuned into the spot. That compares to the 38.3 household rating the last presidential debate scored.

Obama's combined audience beat the highest rated television show last week: CBS' CSI drew about 20 million viewers. It also drew more than double the viewers the average World Series game this year did.

But even if viewers didn't catch the spot when it first aired, clips of the program have repeatedly been broadcast across the cable news chanels Thursday, maximizing the Illinois senator's exposure in the crucial remaining days before Election Day.

"The strategic brilliance of this for Obama is that he is going to consume about 24 hours of the news cycle," Evan Tracey of Campaign Media Analysis Group said. "It boxes [John] McCain in, takes the oxygen out of the room."

It's unclear exactly how much the Obama campaign spent on the commercial in total, but estimates put the cost at least $3.5 million.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. yen

    I am praying for the elections to be over. It is so boring to listen to Palin. She doesn't have any message. All she says is negative staff about their opponent.

    October 30, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Sharon Kitchen

    The Add and the Canidate were GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Can't believe it

    I can't believe the polls are still so tight. How can anyone in their right mind still want to elect McCain and Palin. WOW!

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. mary, older white lady from NJ for Pres. Obama

    God Bless His Mother And Grand Parents For Keeping Him On The Right Path!!!

    That Fella John Who's It's Face Could Learn a Thing or Twenty From This Breath Of Fresh Air!!!

    If He Stood With Us In The Rain And Snow In Pennsylvania For a Half an Hour, Could You Imagine What He Plans To Do For Our Futures!!!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Madmoe

    Wendy Button is not a Obama's speech writer..... quit spreading lies

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Obama-Junkie, IL

    I saw the ad and helped paid for it. Very good ad! How can you tell? Because the political pundits mocked at some parts of it if not all of it while the millions of viewers enjoyed it.

    This is a similiar reaction to the final presidential debate. The political pundits were all touting how much stronger McCain did in the debate but according to insta-polling and undecided focus groups that watched the debate Obama won the debate by over 15pts.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. raj

    Well done Barack!! If you run the country like you ran your campaign, we will be fine.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Shame Shame I Know your name GOP

    You said it Rena!!!!! McCain is mad that Obama actually thought about his actions before he acted, and that is what is so brilliant about Sen. Obama. He is a politician who thinks things through, if he had taken public financing he would have played right into the hands of the GOP.

    I also agree with the fact that the GOP, and many others have not considered that the Obamas were born with very little, and they worked hard for everything they have.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Ms Faithful

    It was brilliant!!! Senator Obama has ran a very professional campaign and It Shows!!! What I like about his rallies it shows what American look like. McCain rallies like he preaching to one choir and we want a President to for everyone not for some.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Great job!!!!! I can't wait till this is all over and Obama is the one and only one to run this wonderful country of ours.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Dick in Callifornia

    A President who is actually intelligent, welcomes varying points of view and makes good decisions. What a novel concept! Bush, McCain, Palin together don't come close to the intellectual level of our next President. The only ones bemoaning the loss by McCain/Palin are the comedians who will be sorely lacking for material once we elect Barack Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Debbie in Missouri

    Obama is a positive problem solver who wants to help Americans.

    McCain is a negative person who spreads lies. McCain needs to learn to talk about solutions and not lie about others.

    McCain – You Reap What You Sow.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Canadian

    I watched it on youTube....loved it, cried and truly got inspired. How a man can turn a pain in his heart to make a mission of his life to change the world .... make it more fair. BTW , I am Canadian

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. R Brown

    It's about the people. You are doing what you said. Wow! What an awesome Ad. You deserve to be President!

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Pam

    My two friends, my daughter, and I gave generous contributions to Obama's campaign. I wouldn't vote for McCain/Palin if they were the only one's running.

    After election day, I'll be singing that old song... Back to Alaska.

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. AK

    Very well done ad, I had chills at the very end when he talked about involving the American people in its own democracy again.
    Well done Barack, glad my monies were well spent. I just sent you another contribution to use as you like, God bless you and God bless the USA.


    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    Larry of Boston – why is it elitist to spend money to get elected? How many "broke" campaigns have won the presidency or any election? You people need to get over yourselves with this elitist nonsense. Obama supporters have given not just their votes but their financial support as well.

    I do not want an average "Joe six-pack American" running my country or even fixing my car. I'll take the elitist with the great education over the guy next door any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. curtis

    Joe didnt show!!!
    Sarah is Walin that the new ethics charge is "partisan politics". Its ok for her to lob charges on a daily basis but when the finger points to her its just not fair. Boo Hoo. She charged the state of Alaska for per diem work at home days and travel charges for her daughters to attend events that they were not invited to. Poor poor mistreated Repugnantans. What goes around comes around.

    The ad was awesome. Barack won't stoop to the Repugnantans but I will!

    October 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. John. Austin, TX

    i was number 3,937,219 out of 26,000,000

    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. TerryDo

    The infomercial was a boring long, look at me, egotistical ramblings of a want a be.

    Obama will never ever be president, not even in 2012 when he claims he will run again if he, or should I say when he loses.

    By the time 2012 rolls around everything there is to know about Obama will be exposed like an open sore on the underbelly of the corrupt DNC, the RBC, Pelosi, Reed et.al.

    700 million on self promotions, oh how Obama could have helped all those poor black people from New Orleans effect by Katrina, now that would have been impressive.

    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    It was excellent. My husband and I both choked up when he talked about his mother dying – we had a similar circumstance with my MIL.

    Get to the polls people!




    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. LaJuan


    In reference to your comment about Obama's speechwriter, Wendy Button voting for McCain, she has every right to do so, that's what makes America so great! Freedom of choice

    Glad to know at least one more other person voting for McCain, nevertheless I want "THAT ONE""


    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Julie

    Yes, Obama will be our next President! Who could not vote for him after that 30 minutes. God Bless America! God Bless the World!

    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Kristen Szatny

    I watched this, my family watched it, & my friends watched it. It was a brilliant last minute attempt to reach out to undecided voters and to let the American people know where Barack Obama stands on the issues. Hopefully he will have changed the minds of some conservatives, or won the vote of a few independents.

    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Independent for USA only

    The leadership is based on VISION and IDEAS, instead of smear tricks. GOP should ask themselves why they supported President Reagan? Obama has the quality to become a leader of this great country.

    October 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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