According to an analysis done by The New York Observer, ever since Lou Dobbs started discussing President Obama’s birth certificate on his CNN program, his ratings have taken a nosedive. Dobbs has lost 15% of his total viewers, and 27% of viewers in the 25-54 demographic.
The Observer found that, “Mr. Dobbs’ first began reporting on Obama birth certificate conspiracy theories on the night of Wednesday, July 15. In the roughly two weeks since then, from July 15 through July 28, Mr. Dobbs’ 7 p.m. show on CNN has averaged 653,000 total viewers and 157,000 in the 25-54 demo.”
This means that Dobbs’ numbers have taken a dive, “By contrast, during the first two weeks of the month (July 1 to July 14) Mr. Dobbs averaged 771,000 total viewers and 218,000 in the 25-54 demo. In other words, Mr. Dobbs’ audience has decreased 15 percent in total viewers and 27 percent in the demo since the start of the controversy.”
Dobbs has also experienced a ratings drop over his quarterly numbers, “But, that said, Mr. Dobbs’ ratings over the past two weeks, during the height of the “birthers” controversy, are also down significantly compared to his overall numbers during the second quarter of 2009 when he averaged 769,000 total viewers and 222,000 in the 25-54 demo.”
This means that if Dobbs was trying to juice his ratings by getting all birther, he has more than failed, he has lost audience share. You can be certain that Dobbs’ superiors at CNN have noticed the decline, and unless things reverse for him soon, the network will have all the justification that they would need to fire him.
The problem that Dobbs presents for CNN is that his program is running counter to the political momentum of the country. When Dobbs moved to the fringe right, he lost 118,000 nightly viewers. The viewers that Dobbs has lost have moved to the 7 PM replay of MSNBC’s Hardball. The rerun of Chris Matthews’ program is now beating or running even with Dobbs. This should not be much of a surprise as Matthews has spent the last couple of weeks taking on the birthers.
Where does all of this leave Dobbs? I think he is fine for now, but if he continues to lose viewers, CNN will replace him. The former cable news giant is struggling in primetime, and can’t afford to have a 7 PM lead in that is causing viewers to flee the network. I don’t know what possessed Dobbs to go birther, but if this decline continues, his decision might end up costing him his show.