In ratings war, Ann Romney beats Michelle Obama by 400K

| September 6 2012

In a startling indication of the decline of the Democratic Party and the Obama brand, television ratings were down dramatically from 2008 for the speech by one of the most popular Democrats in the land – Michelle Obama.

Most troubling for Democrats was the fact that while 11 million viewers tuned in to catch the First Lady’s speech, it was 400,000 fewer than watched Ann Romney’s address on the first night of the Republican convention.

Viewership on all three networks was down from 2008 – 45% for CBS, 38% for ABC, and 24% for NBC, the network that won the night among the big three. Other viewers saw the speech on cable news channels.

The drop in network viewers on the first night of the convention and the star billing of Michelle Obama shows the wear and tear on an administration under siege as it seeks reelection. The Obama glow is gone and times are tough.

The First Lady delivered a polished performance. She is a woman with presence and poise; she is an accomplished speaker who connects with an audience.

Yet the speech means little if not enough voters are watching. In 2008 voters flocked to events in person or on television to witness the Obama phenomenon. After almost four years of nearly daily exposure to the president and first family, they are no longer celebrities. They are everyday figures.

This made Michelle Obama’s speech particularly odd.  It was pure personal narrative that sounded more like an introduction of her husband than a portrait of a sitting president. Like so many of the convention speakers, the First Lady provided no specifics of the Obama record, only tales of youthful struggle and good intentions.

With millions of Americans facing a dismal economy and only about two months remaining until Election Day, Barack Obama needs more than the feel good myth-making that propelled him into the White House. All indicators point to a fading presidency, and fewer voters than ever are even bothering to watch the decline on television.

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