March 27th, 2009
05:41 PM ET
13 years ago

Limbaugh's ratings spike amid Dem attacks

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" 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. tim

    Having Limbaugh get a ratings boost is not a backfire as long as the vast majority of americans still find him highly unfavorable. The folks who listen to him weren't on Obama's team to start with.

    If I'm working for Obama I'd much rather have my Limbaugh be my rival rather than someone substantive. To the Whitehouse this is a win,

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Peggy

    Even idiots have friends.

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Marc T

    Yes, I was one of those that tuned into Limbaugh for the first time in a while. I was curious. What's all the commotion? No one could be as divisive as they say he is. No one could be as polarizing. Well... he is. He's worst that the news reports. He's horribly irresponsible and hateful. He may have had me listening in February, but this March I let him crawl back into his cave for another 10 years or so...

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Roger

    I am not surprised Rush's following supported him when he was preaching to the world about drug users & adultry when he was doing both....hypocrites....he will always have the support of the extreme republican right wingers expecially after the last election....

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. sherry

    I think it was a fluke and all this will die down.......I believe people were tuning in to listen to this man with astoishment ,that someone at his age could be so childish. Plain curiousity....nothing more.
    Limbaugh is a legend in his own mind and need's to step off his little pedestal and look at reality and except the fact that a democrat is president of the United States and is doing a superior job of cleaning house from the last president. Obama is a take charge president and wont sit idlely by vacationing every other week at Camp David........He will bring this nation to prosperity

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Dolores

    That's interesting. I would like to know exactly how these ratings are calculated because it is my understanding that there is not– and never has been–any way to measure his radio audience.

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. pointofview

    this is the same thing that happened during the clinton era and the next thing you know Rep take the house and senate and we get 8 years of Bush. The weird thing is it was Dick Morris that suggested the attacks of Rush, at least that is what I saw from a Karl Rove interview on CNN or Good Morning America, one of the 2

    March 27, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Unemployed

    Limbaugh as leader of the GOP is laughing all the way to the bank. Hoping for failure is a great way to boost ratings, but a terrible plan to win elections.

    March 27, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. cat

    Everyone likes a good debate, that why rush rating went up . People were hopeing to be part of the action. What arethe ratings looking like today?

    March 27, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Eliot

    Sorry Mr. Bozell, but increasing Limbaugh's ratings isn't a "backfire." He's already got a multi-hundred-million dollar contract so it's not like changes in his ratings are going to impact his quality of life. But the more prominent and powerful Limbaugh becomes, the more isolated are his followers and by extension the Republicans who dare not cross them. What's good for Limbaugh is good for Democrats, not for Republicans.

    March 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Jackie in Dallas

    Of course his ratings spiked! First, all of his little lemmings had to rush (sorry, natural pun) to support their hero. Second, moderates tuned in to judge for themselves. I'm one of the second group, but it didn't take me long to turn him off! He's a whiny, almost illiterate, ball of anger and bitterness. All the disadvantanges of being a Hellfire and Brimstone speaker, without any of the Good News message that usually accompanies that type of style. Sorry, Rush, you don't speak to my mind, my heart, or my digestion!

    So, GOP, think what you like - you seem to live in your own reality anyway - but a spike can be driven through the heart as fast as it can indicate increased listeners!

    March 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Brad

    Of course it benefits Rush Limbaugh as long as the Democrats focus attention on him...but it doesn't help the Republican Party. Their problem is that they have no real leadership. No one can lead the Republican Party in any direction that Rush Limbaugh doesn't want the party to go.

    March 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. steve

    way to go obama keep it up...take on these petty little fights w/us conservative hosts...maybe w/out your telepromter u might have an original sentance let alone an idea, Way to go Rush keep up the good work!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. jane

    Good–once they listen to Rush a few times they will realize he is a true American looking after us...not the radical the libs make him out to be.

    March 27, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. B in Texas

    That was the plan. Rush is an entertainer. He requires publicity to survive.

    Why anybody would listen to this faux conservative blowhard is beyond me, though.

    March 27, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. JP

    "According to the Media Research Center, stations that carry Limbaugh's day time talk show experienced a "dramatic surge" of listeners in February"

    It's more like Republicans desperate for leadership flocked to Limbaugh in droves. But they have figure belatedly Limbaugh would hurt not help Republican party if Limbaugh forges ahead as the leader and sympbol of the GOP. This is more of Republicans coming to their senses.

    March 27, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Jim

    Is this even surprising? I'd bet my yearly salary that the spike is primarily coming from Democrats that would never listen to him normally, wanting to hear what Limbaugh is going to say next about Obama. I mean it's not like it's a requirement to like him and agree with him to listen to him.

    March 27, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Vic of New York

    This is a good thing! Look – you have a bafoon, neo-con, self-loathing, attention seeker virtually being put forward as the HEAD of the Republican Party – that warms my cockles!

    Who do you think America thinks of when they think "Republicans"? My thoughts? If we can get Rush Limbaugh on the front Page of the New York Times as the future of the Republican Party – that bodes incredibly well for the next election. least as far as we Democrats are concerned!

    March 27, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. JJ

    I don't think one should read a lot into this. I listened to him a couple of times out of curiosity, I found him utterly ridiculous and concluded his appeal is to ignorant and insecure people. I totally disagreed with everything he said, but I guess I was included in that surge of ratings last month.

    March 27, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Christy

    Rush's ratings are irrelevant really. The purpose of pointing out that Rush is the voice of the Republican party is to point out how nasty and "angry white man" the Republican party has become. That might give Rush higher numbers of listeners but the purpose was never to lower Rush's ratings but to scare away middle of the road, centrist, voters. Rush makes his party look angry and extreme.

    March 27, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. David

    Maybe if we all ignor him he'll fade into obscurity where he belongs.

    March 27, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Scott

    Of course Rush gets attention. He makes his living by saying inflammatory and often stupid things, with his comment that he hopes our President fails just being the latest example . Who's agenda is he pushing anyway? America's, or his own?

    March 27, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. DWH

    I can't imagine that his ratings spiked because people like him, I think it spiked because they wanted to hear how he might answer Obama's comments.

    March 27, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Buckeye Chuck

    Actually, it's a win-win for Obama and Rush. Rush, obviously, because he gets better ratings. Obama because his objective isn't to put Rush out of business ... on the contrary, it's to paint Rush as the face of the GOP. The more powerful Rush becomes with that faction, the easier it is to portray him as their leader.

    I have a number of moderate Republican friends and colleagues, and they all voice despair that on the one hand they disagree with Obama and his policies, on the other, that their party is being hijacked by conservative nut jobs. This kind of news item will not help their mood.

    March 27, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Chad

    Sometimes I watch/ read far right political commentary (O'Reilly, Beck, etc) because I find it humorous and ridiculous. That does not mean that I subscribe to what they say. More people are tuning in to Limbaugh for the same reason – to hear crazy illogical nonsense that is entertaining.
    That's why people watch the Surreal World: crazy is interesting.

    March 27, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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