Television Ratings For State Of The Union Lowest In 14 Years, Second Lowest In 21 Years

2014 State of the Union

Following a trend that is four years old now, viewership for last night’s State of the Union address was the lowest since the final such address by Bill Clinton:

Fewer than 33.3 million Americans watched President Obama’s State of the Union address on television last night, the lowest turnout since President Clinton’s final State of the Union address in 2000, according to newly released Nielsen ratings.

Viewership for Obama’s State of the Union addresses has been in decline since 2009, when he drew 52.4 million television viewers. 48.0 million watched on television in 2010, 42.8 million in 2011, 37.8 million in 2012 and 33.5 million in 2013. This year’s speech now replaces last year’s as the second-lowest rated since Nielsen began recording viewership in 1993.

Perhaps the American public is wising up to the fact that this speech is, as I said yesterday, utterly pointless.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. jd says:

    What, you watched it on TV? I got an iPhone.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    Maybe more people have finally realized how irrelevant most politicians are and little the policy proposal wish list is. How can it even be called the state of the union when so little effort is actually put in describing the actual state of the union.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Not surprising that ratings have dropped. After all, there have to be fewer viewers who want to watch a show where John Boehner sits behind the president frowns and scowls for about 90 minutes.

  4. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda: Yeah, Al, I’m sure that’s the problem: Boehner.

  5. al-Ameda says:


    Yeah, Al, I’m sure that’s the problem: Boehner.

    Well, he usually is the problem wherever he he goes.
    He is probably the least effective House Speaker in the post WW2 era.

  6. bandit says:

    @al-Ameda: Really? Then why does bitchboy Obama constantly whine about how everything’s the GOP’s fault?

  7. al-Ameda says:


    @al-Ameda: Really? Then why does bitchboy Obama constantly whine about how everything’s the GOP’s fault?

    “bitchboy Obama”?
    Do you have any examples of this so-called whining? I mean apart from the obvious and salient point that at the time Obama was inaugurated the economy was reeling and job losses were over 700,000 per month? To my knowledge everyone was whining about that.

  8. Tyrell says:

    “State of the Union”: an anachronism. When I was a child I always wondered, which state of the union?

  9. Pinky says:


    obvious and salient


  10. al-Ameda says:

    It was obvious and salient to sentient intelligent people, not so much to many others.