Oprah Takes a Dive for Obama

Ooops… Barack Obama’s most famous supporter has taken a dive for Obama. Oprah has been “long considered the “queen of daytime TV,”” and she has “enjoyed sky-high popularity as a media personality for two decades.”

But now, thanks to her support for Barack Obama, Oprah’s popularity has plummeted:

Oprah announced on CNN’s “Larry King Live” on May 1, 2007, that she would officially endorse her longtime friend Barack Obama for the presidency — the first time she had ever thrown her support behind a political candidate. “I think that my value to him, my support of him, is probably worth more than any check,” Oprah told Larry King. At the time, Oprah did not indicate whether she would campaign for Obama.

Almost instantly, Oprah’s popularity in America plummeted. An August 2007 CBS News poll showed only 61 percent of Americans were favorably disposed to her — a considerable drop of 13 percentage points from a similar survey conducted just seven months prior. An October 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll that showed Oprah with a slightly higher 66 percent favorability still reflected a drop. […]

But by the time Fox News/Opinion Dynamics asked Americans about their attitudes toward Oprah in a survey conducted about 10 days later, Dec. 18-19, Oprah’s favorability ratings had dropped even further — to 55 percent — the lowest level of favorability ever registered for Oprah in opinion surveys. Oprah’s negatives also spiked, with one in three respondents (33 percent) reporting unfavorable impressions of her.

The results of a March 26, 2008, AOL Television popularity poll of television hosts reveal Americans may now embrace Ellen DeGeneres over Oprah by a wide margin. Forty-six percent of the 1.35 million people who participated in the poll said the daytime talk show host that “made their day” was Ellen, compared with only 19 percent who chose Oprah. Nearly half (47 percent) said they would rather dine with Ellen, compared with 14 percent who preferred Oprah.

To be sure, Oprah remains one of the most popular figures in America, but recent data suggest her popularity has eroded. One possible explanation for this decline is that her endorsement of Obama and her support for him may have done more to damage impressions of her than to strengthen support for Obama.

Costas Panagopoulos who reported on Oprah’s decline in popularity on Politico, says there may be a lesson for celebrities in that “political endorsements carry the risk of alienating fans.” Hmmm… I don’t think Bruce Springsteen suffered a similar decline in popularity when he went on the stump for Kerry in ’04.

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10 Responses to Oprah Takes a Dive for Obama

  1. Gilbert Martinez says:

    Yeah. Obama is electable. Right.

    This is pretty astonishing.

  2. Gilbert

    I’m confused about what is astonishing. The post is about Oprah’s popularity not about Obama being electable.

  3. Gilbert Martinez says:

    Well, either it’s a coincidence or endorsing Obama has really hurt Oprah. If its the latter, then it does not bode well for Obama’s chances in the fall. A 15-20 point drop in favorables is pretty significant for someone who has maintained such a consistent level of support.

    Of course, it could just be the fact that stepping into politics, in and of itself, has hurt Oprah.

  4. Gilbert

    I don’t think it really says anything Obama’s electability. Both he and Clinton have shown they have a great deal of popularity among Democratic voters and Independents. If they each weren’t popular the race would not be so close and still continuing.

  5. Janis says:

    I think what it shows is that Oprah’s “constituency” is overwhelmingly going for Clinton — not a shock since her viewers are also overwhelmingly women.

  6. Kendall Johnson says:


    The implication is that women favor Clinton over Obama and they are not happy about Oprah’s backing of Obama!!! Her support among women is down because many think her support of Obama is a direct affront to the first viable woman candidate.

    I hope women sink Obama!!! He has proven to be sexist and that is unacceptable!!!!!! We are the lagest voting block in the country!!!!!! GO Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Kendall

    As a 51 year old woman who has weathered quite a bit of sexism, I think the media is the sexist culprit primarily in this primary and not Obama.

    As for Oprah’s viewership declining – yes, her main audience is women and no doubt many are not pleased with her endorsement. I would not be at all surprised to see her ratings go back up once the primaries are over.

    Again I can only stress much of this is part of the poltical game, you need a thick skin to be involved. I have no doubt the candidates themselves are far less afronted by much of this than their supporters are.

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  9. Kendall Johnson says:


    I am basing my assessment of Obama on Obama, not the media. I’m basing it on what he does and doesn’t do.

    The media is obvious, but he does nothing to denounce it. He arrogantly basks in male privilage and supports the sexist acts of his sarrogats.

    Furthuremore, his support for his counsin’s presidential bid in Kenya was telling because his counsin wanted to impose shiria law. That would be like Clinton supporting a KKK candidate.

    Additionally, his theme song at his Iowa victory party was “99 problems and a bitch ain’t one of ’em”. Very sexist!!!!!

    Furthermore, he refuses to denouse the Obama girl video, another example of misogynistic P.R. that he takes advantage of dispite the sexism involved.

    So please, don’t assume that he is not calpaple for his own participation and benefits. In by view, he is responsable and I call him out on it.

  10. Hilary says:

    Good morning — Just as with MSNBC which I STOPPED WATCHING completely last month, I no longer watch Oprah Winfrey, nor do I read anything about her in the press, I just kind of ignore news about her. I support Hillary Clinton — I think Oprah’s endorsement of BO was a bit premature — he had never really been held up to any scrutiny. I agree with a previous comment — he is arrogant, sexist, and completely smug. I’m still reeling from “Hillary, you’re likeable enough…………” This guy is his own favorite person — he’s his biggest fan. I use to keep track of topics and guests on Oprah that I might have wanted to watch when it runs in the evening, but no more — I have completely eliminated Oprah from my interests. I don’t know if it’s subconscious or even fair, I just know that this is what has happened at my house 🙂