Joe Biden’s big speech before Congress went about as well as you’d expect. The president stumbled through his notes, making numerous verbal gaffes and seemingly getting less energetic as the night wore on. He also managed to downplay major attacks like 9/11 and repeat various lies about things like guns and the Constitution.
Now, the ratings are in, and the embarrassment has commenced. The original numbers were catastrophically bad, and while the latest counts are higher, they still pale in comparison to Donald Trump’s numbers.
This per TV Newser.
Nielsen now reports that an estimated 26.9 million people tuned in to watch President Biden’s inaugural address to a Joint Session of Congress. While coverage varied by network, 16 aired live coverage from approximately 9:00 p.m. ET to 10:15 p.m. ET.
Out of home viewing as well as connected TV viewing are included in the 26.9 million total. Contribution coming from CTVs can be as much as 11% for televised political events.
By comparison, Trump’s first address to Congress brought in 47.7 million viewers. Even his final State of the Union hit 37 million viewers. Biden trailed those totals greatly, bringing in a heavily partisan audience to boot (MSNBC was the top cable news network for ratings).
I know what the rebuttal to this will be – “Biden may be boring, but that’s what makes him popular.” I don’t buy it, though. At this point, everything is about 2022, and having a president that energizes no one is not a good harbinger for turnout in an off-year election that already historically favors Republicans. Further, when the American people find nothing you say worth listening to, I’m not sure that’s something I’d be bragging about.
I fully understand that Biden’s “return to normalcy” schtick played well for him in 2020. I also understand that he’s completely destroyed that facade in the first several months of his presidency. Now he needs polls with recalled vote totals of Biden +16, as if that’s realistic at all, to get him his high approval ratings (that was the latest Morning Consult poll).
The fact that our president can barely make it through an hour-long speech and that far fewer people are even bothering to tune in is not a good sign for Democrats. You can bolster that opinion by noting how Tim Scott was treated. His speech became the story of the night, and that’s a good thing for the GOP. When the media feel the need to freak out, you know you did something right.
Anyway, there are the numbers. Point and laugh.