State Of The Union Lowest Rated Since 2000

Tuesday night’s State Of The Union Address was the least watched in thirteen years:

33.5 million Americans watched President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, the lowest turnout since President Bill Clinton’s final State of the Union address in 2000, according to newly released Nielsen ratings.

Obama’s totals also marked a significant decline from the first second-term addresses of his predecessors. President George W. Bush’s first second-term State of the Union address, in Feb. 2005, drew 39.4 million viewers. President Clinton’s first second-term address, in Jan. 1997, drew 41.1 million.

In general, viewership for Obama’s State of the Union addresses has been in constant decline. He drew 52.4 million in 2009, 48.0 million in 2010, 42.8 million in 2011 and 37.8 million in 2012. His 2013 address was the second-lowest rated since Nielsen began recording viewership in 1993.

In all honesty, they didn’t miss much.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. homerhk says:

    isn’t at least some of this due to intertent streaming and lack of c-span figures in Neilsen Ratings (according to that politico article, that is, I don’t know whether that is correct).

  2. JKB says:

    Yeah, and the speech wasn’t that good either.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    Can we get a list of the names of these idiots and where they live? And if they own guns?

  4. Scott says:

    I wonder if Mardi Gras had anything to do with it. I know I was busy.

  5. edmondo says:

    After voting for him in 2008, I’ve come to the stark realization that I can’t believe anything Obama says anymore and wouldn’t waste my time watching him.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    In all honesty, they didn’t miss much.

    Yeah, and the speech wasn’t that good either.

    Sour grapes from the usual suspects…

    After voting for him in 2008, I’ve come to the stark realization that I can’t believe anything Obama says anymore and wouldn’t waste my time watching him.

    Hey, you could always vote for Romney…oh wait…

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    The way the pattern looks to me is that, barring some event that sparks interest, viewership of the SOTU declines through a president’s presidency. “Been there, done that”, I guess.

    But there has also been declining viewership over time between first years of terms between presidents, second years of terms between presidents, and so on. Not a perfect fit but near enough for a first approximation. Obama’s viewership has been lower than George W. Bush’s was lower than Clinton’s, etc.

    At this point about 10% of the American people are watching the SOTU while once upon a time it was more like a quarter. It’s lost its zing. That the SOTU for at least the last 20 years has been a dreary list of proposals we’ll never hear about again doesn’t help much.

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, it’s tough to get all fired up to watch the Prez drone on about policy when you’ve just been laid off, your house is in foreclosure, your kids have moved back in after graduating college and have no chance of being independent any time over the next decade, you can’t afford COBRA coverage unless you rob a bank, and to top it off it costs over $40 to fill up your car.

    By way of comparison:

    12.3 million: unemployed people, Jan. 2013
    7.7 million: unemployed people, Jan. 2005

    4.7 million: long-term unemployed, Jan. 2013
    1.6 million: long-term unemployed, Jan. 2005

    22.4 million: unemployed + underemployed, Jan. 2013
    13.8 million: unemployed + underemployed, Jan. 2005

    Viewed in that context around 6 million fewer viewers in Jan. 2013 vs. Jan. 2005 sounds about right, doesn’t it? At least using very rough poli-economic extrapolations.

    Plus you have to remember the demographics of it all. Obama’s supporters are lost in space. If you’re the sort of person who’d be inclined to watch a SOTU address it’s doubtful that you voted for Obama last November. What’s actually surprising is that Obama didn’t draw even fewer viewers.

  9. Nikki says:

    In general, viewership for Obama’s State of the Union addresses has been in constant decline.

    I suspect this is true for all presidents. The longer they are in office, the less people tend to listen to their speeches. A less partisan source probably would have included that bit of research. I didn’t watch the SOTU, but if I had, it would have been on CSPAN because I truly hate listening to pundits.

  10. Just Me says:

    SOTU speeches are little more than glorified campaign speeches and presidential wish lists-this isn’t new, but I think with the internet most people, like me take a pass on listening to the speeches (this year I was happily watching a hockey game instead) and pick up the high lights from various internet media sources the next day.

    I don’t think this is new or unique to Obama, I just think more people would rather spend that time doing something else and it is so easy to get caught up with the availability of speeches and commentary on the internet.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Obama’s supporters are lost in space.

    You poor thing…I see that you’re still projecting…

  12. Tyrell says:

    Some reasons for this: major basketball game on tv, State of the Union speeches are now meaningless, boring, and too long; NHL is heating up; speech was predictable; and many people are now unemployed and can no longer afford cable/satellite. It is past time to eliminate this needless dinosaur.