Surprise: Last night’s SOTU lowest-rated of Obama’s presidency

posted at 7:11 pm on January 26, 2011 by Allahpundit

The inevitable conclusion to days of hype from the media about how this might be the most important speech of his presidency. To put this in perspective, roughly 130 million people voted in the 2008 presidential election and even more will turn out at the polls two years from now. Maybe a quarter of that number watched last night (not everyone who tuned in will end up voting, after all) and only a teeny tiny percentage of them will remember so much as a single line. So here’s a reality check for the next time you see some poll showing the public applauding his airy promises about “investing” in infrastructure while the country sinks deeper into an ocean of debt. If he had dealt honestly in the speech with the issues of spending and sustainability, I’d have considered the ratings decline a crying shame. As it is, who cares?

On Tuesday, January 25, 2011 President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. The address was carried live from approximately 9:00 PM- 10:15 PM on 11 networks. The sum of the average audience for those networks was 42,789,947 viewers, with a combined household rating of 26.6. The networks carrying the address included ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, CNN, Centric, CNBC, FOXNC, and MSNBC. Viewership to last night’s address was down 18% from his address on February 24, 2009 and down 11% from his State of the Union address last year on January 27, 2010.

His first SOTU (which technically wasn’t a SOTU) in 2009 drew 52 million viewers and a combined network rating of 32.5. Last year’s got 48 million and a 29.8. Now he’s down to 26.6 via not quite 43 million viewers. It’s hard to compare SOTUs among different presidents since there are more networks airing the speech every year and changing political circumstances dictate public interest to some extent; and of course, the longer a president’s in office, the lower the curiosity factor becomes and the lower his TV ratings along with it. Even Obama’s first SOTU, however, which was delivered at the height of Hopenchange fever, didn’t crack the top five ratings-wise for Clinton and Bush. Which is to say, as media proliferates and viewers have more alternatives to the SOTU, it seems destined to become less watched and even less influential over time. Good reason to consider doing away with it — at least as a televised speech — once and for all?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Was that last night? Missed it. I just can’t watch that guy for 10 minutes much less an hour.

d1carter on January 26, 2011 at 7:48 PM

It’s not all Obama’s fault …

I tend to think that most Americans didn’t want to watch the prom spectacle the Republicans bought into.

HondaV65 on January 26, 2011 at 7:49 PM

There is still something to be said for making these clowns show up in front of the cameras and force them to justify their existence.

Skandia Recluse on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

If only there was some way to hide the decline…

trubble on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I think a (or perhaps the) big factor for the low ratings is that Obama just addressed the nation two weeks ago. I think on a kind of emotional/psychic level, that was the de facto state of the union. This speech seems like an afterthought of sorts.

Tom_Shipley on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

It needs a band for an opener, some confetti, fireworks, maybe a line of scantilly clad BAMS with pompoms.

Limerick on January 26, 2011 at 7:53 PM

But he had an astounding 92% approval according to the perky one at see-bs news! As someone commented, this is approaching north korea numbers. Awesome!

lukespapa on January 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Was that last night? Missed it. I just can’t watch that guy for 10 minutes much less an hour.

d1carter on January 26, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Same here, can’t stand listening to the guy. I DVR’d FOX from 9 to midnight and fast-forwarded through the speech straight to the analysis and Ryan’s response.

PatMac on January 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

This speech seems like an afterthought of sorts.

Tom_Shipley on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Except for fanboys and wonks, the rest of us just don’t believe a damn thing he has to say about anything. The only thing that he could say that I would believe is that he loves his children. Everything else is suspect.

darwin-t on January 26, 2011 at 7:56 PM

TV ratings are obviously racist.

Bishop on January 26, 2011 at 7:56 PM

I watched as much as I could stomach…which wasn’t a lot.

Fortunately, there’s somebody like Ben Stein to pick up the slack.

As good as anybody I’ve read thus far…

CPT. Charles on January 26, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Allahpundit: Assume this is based on TV ratings. How about online?

publiuspen on January 26, 2011 at 8:01 PM

O’Jesus needs to spark up these speeches with the promise of more Miracles.

Something like he announced about Giffords opening her eyes.

How about turning a pitcher of water into wine or something like that?

How about a real miracle?………He creates a freaking job!!

PappyD61 on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

He’s had over 900 speeches since his coronation. After awhile, he starts sounding like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Bwahh Whaahh Buhh Buuh Whaaawh Whaaawh Waaah.

Barry? Nobody’s listening anymore.

Key West Reader on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

And while we’re at it…lets throw Ramirez into the mix.

CPT. Charles on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Skandia Recluse on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Oh I’ll go ahead a nominate this for an early shot at winner. Well done!

Mord on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I’ll tell you what…

My beautiful bride, a conservative like myself but certainly not a politico yet infinitely brighter than I, actually printed out the transcript of the speech and tore the thing apart, heavily noting in the margins her thoughts (maybe she has some John Adams in her…). She has never done that before. She found the speech to be devoid of common sense, in utter denial of the stone cold fact that we are utterly broke and steadily sliding into bankruptcy, and completely at odds with traditional American values.

She does not share my fondness for Mrs. Palin, but two more years of this kind of scrutiny from voters like her at the periphery of civics and Mr. Obama will be sent into an early retirement.

turfmann on January 26, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I think on a kind of emotional/psychic level, that was the de facto state of the union. This speech seems like an afterthought of sorts.

Tom_Shipley on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

That’s pretty telling. Federal business is an afterthought when there’s campaigning to be done.

alwaysfiredup on January 26, 2011 at 8:06 PM

OH MY GOD!
OReally Obama did really well last night and his approval ratings will go up!

Time for this bloviating ass clown to go over to Olberdorks station OReally is a pompous ass ignoramous!

dhunter on January 26, 2011 at 8:07 PM

We did not watch. You hear one lie you have heard them all out of bho mouth. After all, he is on the tube 24/7 so why watch again? My I am really sick of hearing that gosh horrible voice, nose in the air, smug, slug is getting almost to the point of just watching the weather channel!
L

letget on January 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM

It really was awful. I gave up halfway through and switched to tennis.

Emily M. on January 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Bwahh Whaahh Buhh Buuh Whaaawh Whaaawh Waaah.

Key West Reader on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

LOL! Stop it, you’re killing me!

turfmann on January 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM

If more Dems and Repubs had chosen to sit together, the audience would have been larger. That is what it was all about. Right?

mobydutch on January 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM

OReally gots the BLAH BLAH LOve on! What did Bill Stupid have to do to get that interview promise to kiss Oblah Blah ass for a lifetime ?

Send the fool to MSNBC or NPR he’s senile as McSame

dhunter on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Just can’t watch BO any longer. It makes me feel ill to listen to him. Instead, I spent my time reading Band of Brothers and contemplating how much our WW II vets sacrificed — and how much they contributed to our productivity as a country when they came back changed men.

ClanDerson on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Key West Reader on January 26, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Yeah, there is the matter of ‘over-exposure’.

And as far as Luntz’s focus-group was concerned, ‘insincerity’.

Not a good combo for a political animal.

CPT. Charles on January 26, 2011 at 8:10 PM

OReally gots the BLAH BLAH LOve on! What did Bill Stupid have to do to get that interview promise to kiss Oblah Blah ass for a lifetime ?

Send the fool to MSNBC or NPR he’s senile as McSame

dhunter on January 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM
How in the world is this the number one program on Fox? If people are really waking up, this jerk should be on the bottom.

mobydutch on January 26, 2011 at 8:12 PM

mobydutch on January 26, 2011 at 8:12 PM

The guys a fool just as in love with himself as his boyfriend OBlahBlah is with himself!

dhunter on January 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Good reason to consider doing away with it — at least as a televised speech — once and for all?

What would be left of Obama?

Schadenfreude on January 26, 2011 at 8:17 PM

OReally went to Harvard that explains it he’s a dork from Harvard with a hard on for OBlahBlah.

Fool who cares where ya went ya obviously don’t know shiet!

dhunter on January 26, 2011 at 8:18 PM

OReally gots the BLAH BLAH LOve on! What did Bill Stupid have to do to get that interview promise to kiss Oblah Blah ass for a lifetime ?

I saw laura Ingraham try to sit through this “love”, and say “Oh I know you have an interview with him coming up” and O was as angry as I’ve seen him with her. She was laughing her ass off on the inside. He promised “the second interview will be like the first!” and well there you go.

Marcus on January 26, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Watched NCIS and not the State of the Union — no way was I watching Obama and all his rhetoric. From the looks of the pictures from the State of the Union quite a few people were sleeping as he droned on.

PhiKapMom on January 26, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Bill OReally and Barrack Obama, Frick and frack, mutt and jeff,
twins cept for the skin, peas in a pod, reality escapes them!

This fool, OReally? lost me when he was bitchin and moanin no-one warned him about the stock market collapse!

If hes’ so efn smart why didn’t he see it?
I was out completely out! So were lots of others but dumb butt Bill expected someone to warn him! Tough!

dhunter on January 26, 2011 at 8:26 PM

I’m proud to say that I didn’t watch any tv last night. I didn’t even watch analysis of the event. To all of you who suffered through his speech, you have my respect. This is the first President I’ve ever boycotted, and it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be…

joejm65 on January 26, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch it. I figured I could catch the gist of it today in any number of places. I don’t enjoy watching Mr. President and I didn’t figure he’d have anything new to say. He’s a snake oil salesman. Their pitch is always the same.

scalleywag on January 26, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Watched NCIS and not the State of the Union — no way was I watching Obama and all his rhetoric. From the looks of the pictures from the State of the Union quite a few people were sleeping as he droned on.

PhiKapMom on January 26, 2011 at 8:22 PM

We played the Barack B.S. Bingo Card Game during this year’s B.O. Show.

Everytime he spoke one of his focus group key words, you mark a space. It’s a good thing we were not drinking each time one of his focus group key words was spoken or we would have all been hospitalized. And we don’t have BOCare.

Key West Reader on January 26, 2011 at 8:32 PM

is that just a bad screen grab from HotAir or is the President really looking that bad these days?

My Doctors have advised me to avoid all stress and so I am unable to actually watch anything involving Obama to know the answer for myself.

TheBigOldDog on January 26, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I watched my first SOTU just so I could lick the TV every time Boehner was on. By the end of it I’d lost my sanity, sobriety and will to to live, and it wasn’t Boehner’s fault…

Fortunata on January 26, 2011 at 8:38 PM

But he had an astounding 92% approval according to the perky one at see-bs news! As someone commented, this is approaching north korea numbers. Awesome!

lukespapa on January 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

We should ask Gibbsy for the Bamster’s golf scores!

slickwillie2001 on January 26, 2011 at 8:44 PM

I planned to watch. I didn’t. Not interesting enough…

This is the first I’ve missed in a very long time… I think. I mean I don’t remember not watching even under Clinton.

There is a great deal of apathy out there and for good reason.

Big reason. He hasn’t said anything new or interesting for ages and ages… he just drones on… and then it is easily proved wrong the next day. Nearly everything he says is just not true.

petunia on January 26, 2011 at 8:59 PM

If I were Speaker, running the show, I would’ve chained the House chamber doors yesterday morning and ordered the posting of signs at each entrance, saying something like…

“SOTU cancelled. Please forgive our progress. Nation under construction.”

TXUS on January 26, 2011 at 9:02 PM

“…only a teeny tiny percentage of them will remember so much as a single line.”

Doesn’t matter. Most of his base formulate their views of the speech (and all other political matters) through the prism of whatever Chris Matthews or Christiana Anamonwhatever or some fop on NPR tells them to think.

KS Rex on January 26, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Hide the Decline.

Geochelone on January 26, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Allahpundit: Assume this is based on TV ratings. How about online?

publiuspen on January 26, 2011 at 8:01 PM

I went online to escape Obama’s lies.

Does that help?

David2.0 on January 26, 2011 at 10:02 PM

It’s not surprising.

I got a kick out of Rush’s show this afternoon where he compared the SOTU to several of his randomly chosen earlier speeches. The wording, cadence and pauses were syllable by syllable the same.

Why waste time hearing a re-hash of lies and BS regurgitated over and over again?

Just sayin’

Jack Deth on January 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM

I refused to watch. I didn’t want to hear any more of Obama’s lies.

Well, any more of them for yesterday…..

Vntnrse on January 26, 2011 at 10:17 PM

I just saw a snippet of the SOTU on Greta’s show and I’ve got to say the Rpublicans got pwned big time. What maroons. The Democrats set them up two ways; first the viewers didn’t get to see the huge gains they made in Novemeber interspersed like they were and second, everytime a Democrat jumped up to clap for Oloser the stupid Republican sitting next to them felt compelled to too and did so they were all standing and clapping! This bunch is hopeless. We need the TEA Party to just swamp the Republicans and send the squishes home they are so pathetic…

CCRWM on January 26, 2011 at 10:54 PM

PBS changed its schedule and also carried the address in Minneapolis/St.Paul. My alternate progamming became no television for the rest of the evening.

mitch088 on January 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Liberal? Conservative? Let’s look at these terms and do a meaningful turnabout: The federal government has grown and growed most significantly over the last one hundred years. Those that “conserve” this growth–nay, revere it–are interestingly enough called “liberal.” When they are the ones ever attempting to “conserve” a bloated government! A government mostly populated with libs dems and RINOS.

It is apparent that most of the commenters on hotair are the real classical liberals and our opponents are the conservatives. The Founding Fathers were revolutionaries and so are we.

No more conceding the term “liberal” to those who would rob us of freedom. True liberals embrace liberty and freedom and that is us. Not the charlatans who have usurped and hijacked this fine word but do not embrace its meaning pristine.

I say we take back that “liberal” and all it stands for and leave the usurpers with the name of socialists for that is what they are.

My comment here is an insufficient thing but I have had my say…

Regards

Sherman1864 on January 27, 2011 at 6:43 AM

There is only one reason that I would prefer the State of the union continue to be televised. While, the speech (printed version) can answer many persons questions. But, the printed version does not provide the one thing the televised speech does. The video version allow U.S to see the speakers body language,and body language has proven to belay the truth behind the words.

MSGTAS on January 27, 2011 at 9:15 AM

I think a (or perhaps the) big factor for the low ratings is that Obama just addressed the nation two weeks ago. I think on a kind of emotional/psychic level, that was the de facto state of the union. This speech seems like an afterthought of sorts.

Tom_Shipley on January 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Well done. My favorite spin of the day.

tom on January 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Well done. My favorite spin of the day.

tom on January 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Priceless. Well said.

Badger40 on January 27, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Not the charlatans who have usurped and hijacked this fine word but do not embrace its meaning pristine.

Sherman1864 on January 27, 2011 at 6:43 AM

Since liberals are experts at twisting, redefining, & seeing things that just are not there, I would say this comes to no surprise.

Badger40 on January 27, 2011 at 5:38 PM