I admit it: I grew tired of listening to President Obama sometime back in 2009 or early 2010. It was around then that I figured out that his speeches were mostly self-referencing and full of various distortions of truth and wholly partisan claptrap. I say this because it’s been evident for a while now that the American people are beginning to feel similarly. Take Tuesday’s State of the Union address, for example. We don’t have the cumulative viewership numbers, but if Variety magazine is correct, 2015’s installment of the President’s Annual Message to Congress should turn in the weakest ratings for such a speech in the last 15 years. Here’s what they say:
Nielsen won’t issue cume numbers until later Wednesday or Thursday, but Fox News (3.471 million), CNN (2.557 million) and MSNBC (1.995 million) combined to draw a little over 8 million viewers from 9 to 10:15 p.m. ET, according to preliminary estimates. This is down from 9.1 million last year and 10.35 million in 2013.
In adults 25-54, CNN led the way with 1.021 million during the address — up a big 40% from last year. It was followed by Fox News (834,168), which had its smallest demo audience since 2000, and MSNBC (473,460), which had its smallest in eight years.
Nielsen will once again sustain ratings for the commercial-free address, meaning they won’t be counted in the broadcast networks’ averages. CBS led among the broadcasters with 7.57 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 25-54, according to preliminary nationals.
Last year’s address drew about 33.3 million viewers across 14 broadcast and cable stations, according to Nielsen, continuing a trend of lower viewership for each of President Obama’s addresses since his first in 2009 drew a big 52.4 million.
It also should be noted that the 11pm hour was dominated by a live edition of Fox News’ “The Kelly File”. It drew 2.40 million viewers, per Nielsen’s estimates, which was more than double the 1.13 million CNN brought in during that hour. FNC also beat out CNN in the 25-54 demographic, 532,000 to 459,000. MSNBC, meanwhile, could not even crack 1 million overall, bringing in just 995,000, and it was a distant third in the 25-54 group with 293,000.
There’s a few points to be extracted from this. First, as I mentioned earlier, is that America is growing steadily wearier of President Obama’s speeches. Second, it should not surprise anyone that more people who tune in to CNN would be interested in the State of the Union than those who typically tune into Fox News. Third, Fox News is still dominating the cable news networks overall. Finally, MSNBC still can barely bring in enough viewers to save its life.
And remember folks, we’ve still got roughly two more years of Obama speeches awaiting us.