Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Obama's Ratings Collapse Obama's Ratings Collapse

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Obama's Ratings Collapse


Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud President Barack Obama on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, as the president gives his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

If President Obama were a television show, the network executives might start holding some serious meetings about how to turn his ratings around. Tuesday's State of the Union address was the third consecutive year Obama's overall audience has shrunk, even though the speech was carried on more networks than ever before.

37.569 million viewers tuned in to the speech, according to Nielsen's ratings, released late Wednesday. That translated into a 24.0 rating -- better than American Idol's show the following night, which 21.93 million people watched, but not as good as the NFC Championship game between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. 57.64 million people watched that game on Fox.

But Obama's numbers are getting worse. Fully 52.37 million watched his first address to a joint session of Congress, on Feb. 24, 2009 (technically not a State of the Union, but at a comparable point in the year). His first official State of the Union, on Jan. 27, 2010, was seen by 48 million people; his second, on Jan. 25, 2011, drew an audience of 42.79 million, according to Neilsen's ratings.

(Subscribers can check out our full list of SOTU Neilsen data, dating back to 1993, compiled by Hotline TV staff writer Chris Peleo-Lazar, here).

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter