State of the Union Ratings: President Obama’s Final Address Hits Record Low

State of the Union Ratings: Obama's

Interest in the State of the Union address under President Obama continued to decline Tuesday, as his final such speech to the nation dipped from last year for the annual event’s smallest tune-in since Nielsen began tracking viewership in the early 1990s.

According to Nielsen estimates, an average audience of 31.3 million watched the SOTU address on a dozen broadcast and cable networks live and tape-delayed on Univision. Last year’s address ended up averaging 31.7 million viewers across networks — the second smallest SOTU crowd in the past 20 years, slightly ahead of the 31.5 million who watched President Clinton’s final address.

Presidents, especially those in office for two terms, tend to see dwindling returns for their State of the Union addresses, and that has certainly been the case with President Obama. Since attracting a whopping 52.37 million for his first address in 2009, tune-in has dropped with each year: 48 million in 2010, 42.8 million in 2011, 37.7 million in 2012, 33.5 million in 2013, 33.3 million in 2014 and 31.7 million a year ago.

Nielsen doesn’t officially release State of the Union ratings info for the broadcast networks, as the program will be sustained and not counted in nightly or season averages. CBS said, though, that it drew the most viewers of any network with 6.9 million.

On the cable side, CNN edged past Fox News Channel in total viewers (3.49 million to 3.47 million), with MSNBC third (2.52 million), according to preliminary Nielsen estimates. CNN was the clear leader in the news demo of adults 25-54 (1.303 million), followed by FNC (753,000) and MSNBC (604,000).

Combined, the three cable news networks were actually up vs. last year, averaging 9.47 million total viewers — up 18% from 8.02 million a year ago. And in adults 25-54, this year’s 2.66 million was 15% higher than last year’s 2.33 million.

In the 11 p.m. ET hour when the networks offered up analysis of the speech and Republican response, Fox News drew 2.42 million viewers, well ahead of MSNBC (1.32 million) and CNN (1.31 million). The Turner network held a slight lead in the demo (533,656), with FNC a close second (511,437) and MSNBC third (325,890).

See More: Obama Calls for Passage of Trans-Pacific Partnership in Final State of the Union

According to Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings,  roughly 9.8 million people in the U.S. saw one or more of 2.6 million tweets send about the 2016 State of the Union on Tuesday —  nearly identical to Twitter traffic a year ago when 9.7 million people saw 2.6 million tweets. The most tweeted minute of the night was at 10:10 p.m. ET, when 30,600 tweets were sent following the President’s closing remarks.

The most popular subjects of tweets during the State of the Union were foreign affairs (23%), energy and environment (21%) and the economy (18%), according to Twitter. The presidential candidates mentioned most often in tweets on the night were Donald Trump (36%), Hillary Clinton (19%) and Bernie Sanders (14%).


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  1. So, this seems about right. The lowest possible excuse for a chief executive gets low marks for his self-aggrandizing huffings and puffings in front of God, the Universe and Everybody. What a knob.

  2. sanityisrare says:

    Obama lives in an alternate universe….Record low in more ways than one…

  3. EDWARd says:

    This coward will not be safe no matter which muslim friends are hiding him and Mooooooochelle

  4. Julia says:

    We’re just sick of this lying anti-Constitutional, anti-American phony. Not surprised he’s bought a house in Dubai to live in after he leaves office. No extradition.

  5. JOE S HILL says:

    Wasn’t worth the time listening to this “Liar In Chief”,so good riddance! he’s done NOTHING for our Economy,,he’s perverted our Civil Rights,for self chosen LGBTs,,wants to confiscate all Guns,,like that’s going to stop criminals and terrorists,while unarmed and innocent Americans become easy targets,,and the real biggie-allowing thousands of Syrian refugees to enter into our country,while our Borders are left unprotected,,and HE has the all out balls to say that we’re all okay,,real cute! the only thing i’d watch,is his well deserved impeachment,but that will obviously not happen,as we’re stuck with this lying CIC,and his agendas,for one more year-oh,the pain!!

  6. Bill B. says:

    Good speech. Actually, two good speeches.

  7. rocco says:

    Record low- but 31M is a lot. That’s considerably more than the Rethugs get for their idiotic debates on Fixed News.

  8. Steve Goodman says:

    Very partisan headline! Makes it sound like nobody was watching, when in reality the total audience was off by only 1% from last year. These days, nearly everything on television has lost far more than 1% of its viewers year to year.

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