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. Kyle

    Anyone else see the Colbert report a few days ago with teh actualy Socialist presidential candidate.

    He said Obama is the furthese candidate from Socialist and has no idea why McCain keeps implying he is.

    October 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. seant

    That was a joke...where in the world is he going to get all the money to provide everything he promised. This guy is a snow job

    October 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Enlightened Voter

    Bert – so the millions upon millions of taxpayer monies that mccain spent and is still spending doesn't bother you but the money WE DONATED to Barack is bad??? You rethuglicans are hypocrites at it's best and you are disgusting and that is why john mccain and sarah paliar are losing because they are clueless, pathological liars just like their base!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. What a waste

    Nearly 3 quarters of a Billion dollars to satisfy his ego. If you people have so much money to donate to his campaign, perhaps you should look at helping the people that really need the money in this country. It's OK for Obama to lie about public financing...a messiah can do no wrong.

    Chi4Obama and all you others...but keep drinking your Koolaide. You're in for a surprise when he back-steps about all the other things he's promised. Not that I don't think they are good intentions.. but an extra Trillion dollars in spending??? He says he'll pay for it by cutting gov't spending..but other than the Iraq war, neither he nor his champion Bill Burton can tell us what that is.

    Say and do anything to get elected. That is what he's done.

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Salim Chowdury

    I saw a Rednecks for Obama sticker in Iowa yesterday. I want to say that the country is united for Obama. This could be a blowout of historical proportions if Dems go out and vote. So do your civic duty and wash away the hate and incompetence of the last 8 years. Let's vote for Barack and Joe and make the US great again. Obama/Biden 08 and 12 and make it a blow out. Do your civic duty.

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Bridgette-PA

    "JOE"- Stop telling untrue stories like your candidates have been doing over the past several months! Your not good at it and neither are they. Get a life and get ready to vote for OBAMA on 11/4. You know your a "secret" OBAMA supporter. COME OUT OF THE CLOSET!


    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Domingo

    How refreshing to actually have a candidate (and hopefully president) that actually has a command of the English language, that can inspire wiht words and speech instead of terroizing us wiht mangled English and fear?!.
    Inspiring and enlightening! For all of those who say its all hope and words, I say, Isn't this what we've been thirsting for? So what if some of his goals will not be achieved – won't our country be the better for trying?

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Mr. Williams

    A brillant message presented in a positive and uplifitng manner. This man is going to move the country back into the right direction. So respectfully all the 1 or 2 republicans lol on here please by all means go vote for your guy if you want McPalin and all of his Bushie advisers he has surrounded himself with to continue to carry the country in the wrong direction that his buddy Bush has (who he has suppoted 90% of the time).
    But please stop hating the fact is that this is the first time ever that the Democratic presedential nominne for the general election has out fundraised his Republican compeitor, meaning the Repulicans have always outspent the democrats so who's really been buing the vote? Barack and his team are just smarter and raised more money maybe instead of hating and compaling McCain should've surrounded himself with a smarter team of fundraisers instead of the Bushies. But I don't think it would've matterred becuase at the end of the day Barack Obama has a better message and better policies that are a departure from the old politics that have ruined our economy and country and he's conveying it withoout all the negativity that CNN's poll supported regarding who america feels has been running a negative campaign. So stop hating even if you don't like Obama deep down you gotta know that he's runnign a superior presedential campaign and doing it wtih style and integrity! I voted early so I already held my boy down and you should too because we need new Hope and new direction! Obama 08 Change is Coming!

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. susie

    Obama's set had gold colored drapes just like the White House. At least, he has a video so after McCain wins he can check out the video to see what the WH looks like.

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Ron frm Baltimore

    I watched. I am once again proud to be an American. This after feeling shame at watching the McCain-Palin ads and rallies; and, very sad to say, after seeing the Elizabeth Dole "Godless" attack on her opponent for the Senate seat in North Carolina.

    I am white, 59 years old, fairly educated (PhD), English-as-a-second-language, second-generation American. I am voting for Obama-Biden.

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Where's the Beef???

    I'm a Democrat that has wanted to find out more about my candidate- Senator Obama, and I have failed repeatedly in my attempts to find out who he really is. Because the media doesn't show any healthy skepticism toward Obama, I am going to go with the candidate I know about good and bad – Senator McCain. Yes, I'm now a Democrat for McCain because the media won't cover Obama with intellectual honesty. I’d feel doped on Obama and I’m not falling for it.

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Mike

    Brandon – Your guy is one of the Keating 5. He has never said a thing about all the bad things he did back then. He has never explained himself or talked about what drove him to accept these gifts. This is exactly the thing John McCain is asking Ted Stevens to step down for. Why didn't he take his own advice back then? If you want to ask some questions... I suggest you start with your candidate. (While you are at it, see what Ms. Palin has to say about the $21,000 spent on her kids – with Tax payer’s dollars.) Obama has shown some true integrity and I feel happy to have cast my vote for him and to have supported his campaign. I am so looking forward to Wednesday’s celebration.

    October 30, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. John

    Go Obama, finally we have a man that we can trust!

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Harry A. Haney

    Hey Larry of Boston,
    The millions spent by Obama were donated by us families on the brink of financial collapse. Average donation = $68. He spent it wisely.
    You say Obama lied? John McCain promised to run an honorable campaign. Did he lie? The old McCain didn’t want Roe overturned. The new McCain completely disagrees with the old McCain. Did he lie? McCain used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he reversed course in February. Did he lie? McCain took a firm line in opposition to torture, and then caved to White House demands. Did he lie? The list goes on and on. Does he lie? In the words of Caribou Barbie "You Betcha".

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Me

    Obama's shady shadowy past.
    The Americans have been scammed.

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama: The Manchurian Candidate

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Yeswecan

    If he runs the country like he has run his campaign, happy days will be here again! OBAMA 08!

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. milo f.

    hey to the person that cant spell that dont like obama maybe you should go back to school then to learn how to spell the word "because" then maybe you can vote for insain mccain love ya!

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Gracie

    I thought the 30-Minute Ad was BRILLIANT. It made me even more PROUD to be an American, knowing that we are UNITED in times of crisis. Sen. Obama is right. If ONE falls, we ALL FALL. We need to be our "brother and sisters keepers". Millions of families watched that video and KNEW they are NOT ALONE in these hard times.





    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Californian4Obama

    It's now "Joe the No-Show" – he stood up McCain at a rally today. Why is the GOP campaign run so sloppily? Glad I'm voting for someone who has their _ _ _t together.

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Adam in NJ

    I'd be very proud to call this man President. To all of you saying he could have spent the money used to make the commercial fixing problems with the nation, it was money donated from his supporters, not taken from taxes.

    To all the individuals typing in ALL CAPS ranting and raving about Obama supporters being kool-aid drinkers, stuff it. No one's drinking Kool-Aid, and you just look like the crazy ones typing in caps and spreading your lies and misinformation.

    Obama all the way!

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. reggie

    I do not of one single person who watched the ad who was not already voting for Obama. Thus, it's not really a success. Is it? McCain is moving up in all the polls, while Obama is drifting downward!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. milo


    Larry King asked McCain if he really thinks Obama is a socialist.

    McCain said NO.

    Enough with the "socialist" nonsense, at this point even McCain himself has said it's not true.

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Demorat to the bone




    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Farah

    Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.
    An extraordinary job well done. Senator Obama is the kind of president I would like to have in the White House.

    Absolutely Brilliant.
    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Alex

    I am seeing a trend with the arguments against Obama. People are saying they are upset by wanting him to spread the wealth and their hard earn money should not be given as hand-outs. But when Obama receives money from supporters and spends it on hard working Americans to run his campaign, then Obama should be giving it to help out the country as hand-outs. Weird. At this point I believe everyone has basically made up their minds who they are supporting and voting for. I also give thanks to the other article on this ticker: "Greene: If You can't (or can) say anything nice..." It shows that if everyone stopped for a moment and said something nice about the opponent, then they calm down. It does not mean you have to change your vote...just the attitude.

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26