President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night was the least watched of his presidency and had the lowest viewership of any State of the Union in the last fourteen years.
According to Nielsen, roughly 33.3 million watched Obama’s address. Not since 31.5 million watched President Bill Clinton’s last State of the Union address in 2000 have so few tuned in to watch the speech. After Obama’s joint address to Congress was seen by 52.4 million people in 2009, the audience for his State of the Union address has steadily declined, with his 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 addresses being viewed by 48.1 million, 42.8 million, 37.8 million, 33.5 million, and 33.3 million respectively.
Fox News’s ratings doubled those of the two networks – CNN and MSNBC – that have been Obama’s cheerleaders during most of his time in office. CNN and MSNBC reportedly got their lowest ratings since 2005 and 2008, respectively, in their coverage of the address. According to Nielsen, “CNN brought in roughly 2.1 million people overall, down 43% from last year.” The network even trailed MSNBC, whose ratings were down 24% from last year. Meanwhile “viewership for Fox News increased 28% from last year’s State of the Union address and also rose in the key 25-54 age group to 1.2 million (up 25%).”