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. Grumpy Gramps and the Diva are wrong for the USA

    EXXON MOBIL has RECORD profits and McCain wants to give them a tax break.

    Hello...anybody home?

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. katiec

    It was a wonderful presentation. It showed Barack Obama's
    run for president is for the people who he puts before hisself.
    The man is genuine about wanting to save our country.
    Concerned about our future. Worried about the numerous
    crisises the republicans have created.
    It is going to be a humungous job getting our country back
    to where it once was, but Barack Obama can do it.

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Independent white female patriotic voter

    I recommend that very politician handles their campaign just like obama has handled his. I respect this man so much for taking the high road as often and as much as possible considering the dirt that has been thrown on him by Mccain's campaign. I was so touched and satisfied with the ad Obama had on TV. I was impressed by how focused on the American people, our economy, our education and our healthcare. I was thrilled to hear Obama speak of what he envisions our great country doing and I am a proud voter for Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. Dave

    Obama is inspiring and uplifting.
    McCain is depressing and sad.

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Muckinello

    It was a nice and positive message. Powerfull images and words. Nice to see intelligence again in our highest office!
    Wellcome President Obama, the new American Leader for the 21st Century is here!

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Chi4Obama

    The best part about the ad, was that Barack did not even have to mention John McShame or his pet Moose at all.

    We have already turned the page on the GOP chapter.

    Can you all say PRESIDENT OBAMA 🙂

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. Proud American

    I've voted today in Florida. America will once again be the country other countries will want to be emulate.
    Obama/ Biden '08

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. sabuc for Obama

    The ad was brilliant and it easily summarized everything that Obama is offering. I really enjoyed not hearing about the opponent. Thank you Obama for an excellent. Can't wait for the celebratory win speech on Tuesday night.

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Sean from NC

    We have two options this year:

    Option #1: A candidate with fresh new ideas

    Option # 2: A candidate that whines because he's out of them.

    Who will you pick?

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Bill

    inspiring and beautiful. come on America! let's do the good thing this time – the good thing for us and for our country!

    OBAMA o8

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. D&D

    It was a master piece...to remind you all that if you want him in the White House, you need to make sure you VOTE first!

    So folks, remember to VOTE, early or on the election day, make sure that you VOTE!

    October 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Morgan

    I almost cried watching that ad and listening to the struggles of my fellow Americans. The ad was well put together and a great way to articulate the policies he wants to put forward. If we could hear policies from McCain/Palin that would be great but all we hear is about Jow the Plumber, Socialism, Ayers, and all the Palin "diva" "wardrobe malfunction" drama.

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Bala

    I saw that informicial. It was positive, inspiring, sensational and awesome. It was an A+ material. Job well done and money well spent. Congratulations Mr.President.

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. Ms. Jenny

    Public Financing = "spreading the wealth."
    Obama's Financing = 100% pure Capitalism.

    So, really, all you people who hate "socialism" should be praising Obama's decision to embrace a more "American" means of raising funds – one that does not redistribute people's money.

    If Obama is a better campaigner than McCain, then shouldn't he be rewarded for his skills? I mean, golly gee, we don't want to "punish success" by giving both candidates equal money even though one is clearly more superior, do we?

    Thank God Obama took a stance so that we can finally eliminate the "socialist" Public Financing system! 🙂

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Optimstic from a swing state

    My wife and I watched the show last night and despite what negative comments you hear, we felt it was very artfully developed, illustrated a lot of good arguments, and was not negative. It was really nice to finally see something political on TV that wasn't looking to slander, attack or demean another individual.

    We were undecided but after thinking that we are tired of being "in fear" in our own country for 8 years...and seeing a trend of McCain trying to keep us in fear by his negativity and his cruel attacks...this cemented it for us. If a candidate can speak for 30 minutes, and not mention his republican rivals, the GOP or anything negative...I'm all for it.

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Nifty 60, female and white

    Obama was absolutely inspirational. Our donations have been well spent. Not once was McCain mentioned or anything negative said. First American mini featured film that was worth watching. I for one am proud to have voted early for Obama. In my heart of hearts I believe that anyone that does not vote for Obama is a racist, there is just no other explanation, and I hold this truth to be evident.

    Obama '08

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. tee


    so what

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Another O and Joe supporter

    Do we need to say anything else? The man is brilliant and the people he has chosen to surround himself with are too! He is a leader a true once in a lifetime (generation) politician! I can't wait for Nov 5 to come and a new day for America!

    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Obama is a liar

    Infomercial- Guinsu knives, Ronco product, the ab machine- All useless.. Just like the presidential candidate who lied about Public Funding.


    October 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. sandee in Portland

    Hey Joe, I too read her article in the Huffington Post. She's been a speech writer for Edwards, Hillary and others for the past 2 years. So, who cares who she is voting for. It doesn't really matter. The great thing about America is all of us can vote for whomever we so choose.

    I was one of the more than 8.5 million people that watched Obama's ad. All it did for me was to point out even more how much difference there is between the candidates. Obama = intelligent, thoughtful, caring about our people and country, good policies, calm, positive thinking. McCain = angry, hot head, bad judgement, no policy, lying, in it only for himself and not for our country.

    I donated money to Obama and feel he has spent it well, and this includes last night's ad.

    Smart move, good move, smart campaigning. How much have the McCain bloggers contributed to his campaign.

    Retired moderate republican voted for Obama

    October 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Obama call for unity is so much better than the divisive campaign McCain is running. Sarah Palin used to seem like a decent woman... but now she is just as bad if not worse. Maybe she needs to read the good book a bit about lying...I'm sure the book of james talks about the tongue.

    October 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. nom deplume

    So when do we report to the re-education camps?

    October 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. Greg in MN

    Who said this was a bad idea huh!?!? Nicely done Mr. (I hope) Soon To Be President Elect Obama and his team!

    October 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Marc PDX

    There is no doubt that he is a Rock Star. There is only doubt about his ability to be President. But he is a great celebrity for sure.

    October 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Wendy Button

    Clinton, has apparently seen the light to hear her tell it. She has written political speeches for over ten years and has always believed in the Democratic Party. All that has suddenly changed but it likely won’t resonate with the mainstream media.

    Her post, So Long Democrats, is lengthy and windy but her points are easy enough to dissect:

    John Edwards fall from grace hit her hard.

    Not only has the Democratic party belittled working people in this campaign, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. The treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin is unforgivable according to Button. They stooped so low as to go after Clinton’s cleavage and Palin’s wardrobe.

    She admits that she was dead wrong about the troop surge and thought it would be a disaster. She believes John McCain led when many were ready to quit.

    The ‘hooker lines’ that she was paid to write were all posturing, a charade and a political game. The media scribbled down the one liners as if that was the essence of the message, when in fact it was the fluff.

    The mocking of Joe the Plumber was one of the final straws. She didn’t leave the Democratic Party, but rather the Democratic Party left her.

    Some bloggers are suggesting that you won’t hear much about this story among the talking heads of the mainstream media. They believe that had she been a Republican speechwriter who was suddenly swayed by Democrat Barack Obama, it would have played in every living room in America. They are suggesting media bias. You be the judge.

    October 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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