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. kingpin

    The prior story "Joe the no show" is just another example of how McScam manages his campaign and how he would manage the whitehouse!

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Matt

    cry about it republicans...your tears sustain me

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. ted



    Silver-tongue attorney Obama can read a teleprompter like no one else – he sounds poised, polished and measure … just as attorneys are trained to be.

    But actions speak louder than words.

    "You know what he did?" Clinton said, heralding Obama's reaction to the financial crisis. "First he took a little heat for not saying much. I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers – he talked to my economic advisers, he called Hillary. He called me. He called Warren Buffet. ….

    "The second thing – and this meant more to me than anything else, and I haven't cleared this with him and he may even be mad at me for saying this so close to the election – but I know what else he said to his economic advisers – he said, 'Tell me what the right thing to do is. What's the right thing for America? Don't tell me what's popular, you tell me what's right, I'll figure it out and sell it.'


    If you were getting on a plane .. would you want a pilot who had never flown before

    If you were getting an operation .. would you want a surgeon who had no experience.

    Obama it’s not that he’s black ..he’s just way too green.

    NO TO OBAMA – Pelosi – Reid 2008

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Latina for Obama (nj)



    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Gail

    It was a well done ad. Sen. Obama seems to have run a very good race. McCain was suppose to spell out his economic plans this week. Instead we got "Joe the plummer" talking about policies, both domestic and forign (sic) and maybe a book deal and Aaron Tippin maybe producing a record deal with him.

    What type of race is this????? McCain has me soooo confused.
    All he has done is try to instill fear in America about Sen Obama. Which doesn't seem to be working.

    Maybe that is why the Republicans are falling apart this time. I am an independent and I've voted both parties in some years. But this year, I dare say – the GOP will not get my vote.

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. RS

    What is amazing to me is the number of people that think McCain and Palin are a good choice. AMAZING!

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. cindy

    If McCain (the republicans) had the millions that Obama has been able to raise they would be tauting their organizational skills and ability to raise so much cash but since they haven't been successful in that area (and many other areas) they have nothing left than to berate Obama for his success in rasing lots of many andfor running a very well organized and smart campaign!!!!

    This is the kind of leader I want for this country not the hatred filled people kinds of people in this country!!!!!!! I don't care what party you belong to hatred is vile no matter who expouses it!

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Vigla

    RFEERO, wheer have you been? We ALREADY ARE BROKE with conservative policies! Why not give progressive ideas a shot for the first time in over 30 years? I'll take a little socialism if it will fix this country's problems. But honestly, what Obama offers is not socialism, you need to get out more and learn. Don't believe everything you hear.

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Go Obama

    Obama tells us his plan to revive our country and to make tomorrow better.
    McShame talks about why we shouldn't vote for Obama by accusing/calling Obama names...
    you decided.
    Obama '08!!!

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. marie - ohio

    I wasn't asked and what I saw it didn't do anything for me. Oh, by the way I'm one of those undecided voter and black

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. RealityKing

    Obama is putting talking at us above talking with us..

    October 30, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. Lorna, NY

    Barak Obama's campaign has been the best run campaign in American history. The man is BRILLIANT!

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |

    hey joe, button was fired by the obama campaign & so who cares who she votes for as most of America will be voting OBAMA!

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Kelley

    It was an awesome depiction of what people are going through. Real troubles with real people. That's something that someone with 7 houses and 15 cars wouldn't have a clue about.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. tishoogle

    Excellent, Excellent Obama! Now lets go out and vote Obama!

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. TJ Johnson

    He said not one thing we haven't already heard. In other words, he wasted Americans' hard-earned dollars for his own self-aggrandizement. All bad!! That One would be a poor president, careless with other people's money.

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. John the Gulf War Vet

    Senator McCain you are no hero, you are a terrorist.

    Your campaign advisor was a Saddam Hussein lobbyist for 5 years.
    You pal around with Gordon Liddy, domestic terrorist.
    You are a member of "The Project for a New American Century" – a radical extremist terrorist orginization.
    Your VP candidate's husband Todd Palin is a domestic terrorist in the Alaskan Independence Party.
    You have given $500,000 to PLO, a group that McCain himself says are terrorists.
    You have met with Chilean Dictator Pinochet, a terrorist.
    Your using FOX NEWS, the Bush Administration, The Justice Department to commit voter intimidation & suppression is a act of terrorism.

    John McCain you are a disgrace to your uniform

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Concerned in MA

    I'm glad it was a "ratings success"... maybe some of those 30 million realize that they're being led like sheep to the slaughter.

    And actually, the numbers are proving out that very fact.

    For those of you who think your contribution was "money well spent"... sorry, but my money goes to feeding my family and helping those less fortunate. Might I suggest you do the same?

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. matt

    i am not voting for barack, i only watched it because i was waiting for the Baseball game to start...

    yeah screwed up the whole pregame show
    pissed me off

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Lala

    all I can say is brilliant !!!!! McCain Quit complaining... when the shoe was on the other foot (Mr. Bush raising so much money no body complained.. yes i gave 125 dollars of my hard earned money to Obama. He is not accountable to any one but his donors... stop whining Obama O8 NC is going blue baby

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |

    That was "must see, TV" I loved every minute of it. DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!! The gop will try to find some way to steal it.

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Roy

    Fantastic and Positive Show. Very Impressed. Worthwhile to watch. Obama all the way!

    October 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. IndependentNY

    Well done Barack! Very moving and informative commercial and refreshing to see something about us and nothing to do with the other guy you're running against.

    This man has given me for the first time in my adult life something no other political figure ever has .... HOPE. It's also something one needs to feel like we CAN succeed, we CAN rebuild our lives, we CAN change our ways to accomplish all of the amazingly difficult challenges we have to give our kids a future. To be able to do these things, we need a leader who INSPIRES, not someone who tries to scare us. Who do you want to follow? One who always uses spooky language or one who lifts you up and makes you feel good about yourself and your country? It's a no-brainer folks. OBAMA/BIDEN GO USA!!!

    October 30, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Cathy

    Go President Obama!

    October 30, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Janelle

    I'm tired of the criticism of how Obama spent so much on this advertising. Myself and millions of other supporters sent him that money to spent exactly as he did–in a wise way to get himself elected president.

    That's what I donated it for and he did as I asked–makes me more confident than ever as to how he'll spend my tax dollars.

    October 30, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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