Are viewers fleeing Oprah because of her support for Obama?

For years, it seemed Oprah Winfrey would ride her crest of popularity undiminished by the troubles that typically affect other television personalities. With fans clamoring for more, she was able to start a magazine, spin off several daytime shows such as Dr. Phil, and is in the process of creating her own cable network.

But now there are signs of cracks in the foundation of Winfrey's empire, her daytime program The Oprah Winfrey Show. The program lost seven percent of its average viewership last season, with the show attracting less than seven million viewers on average during the period, according to the Associated Press, which cites data from Nielsen Media Research. With the show starting its new season Monday the question is: will Winfrey will be able to recapture those lost viewers -- and why did they depart in the first place?