America didn’t really care to show up to watch the fifth iteration of a now over-hyped D.C. ritual chock-full of recycled platitudes from an uninspired president only halfheartedly fighting back the throes of an imminent lame-duckery of his own making? …Weird.
The ratings are in, and they’re not pretty: the yearly speech got its lowest ratings since 2000.
The 2014 State of the Union got 33.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen figures. That is the smallest audience Obama has gotten since he took office in 2009. In comparison, Obama’s highest-rated State of the Union address was in 2009 when he drew 52.4 million viewers. Viewership has declined every year since then, and 2014’s speech was down from 33.5 million last year.
Meanwhile, President Bush’s smallest audience for a State of the Union was 37.5 million in 2008. President Clinton’s was 31.5 million in 2000 — the lowest State of the Union ratings, as the Daily Caller pointed out, since Nielsen began tracking them in 1993.
The numbers aren’t much lower than last year’s (and some of them could be getting siphoned off by all of the Internet-viewing options that abound these days), but it is quite the drawdown from the heights of Hopenchange, and O’s sagging approval ratings of late would probably suggest that nobody is finding renewed interest in the thought of spending their evening watching the president wearily deliver the same piece of political theater they’ve already heard umpteen times before. Obama Fatigue is real, and if this keeps up — especially if the Democrats lose the Senate this fall and Obama really finds himself dead in the water — I shudder to think about how much more depressing this banal rhetorical exercise can get. I’d wager that it won’t be long before he’s giving President Clinton a run for his money.