Will anyone be watching tonight’s State of the Union address?

Chris Bing Contributor
Font Size:

If a recent trend continues, Tuesday’s State of the Union address may be a television ratings bust for the White House, according to an analysis of recent TV ratings data.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver his sixth address to a joint session of Congress tonight at 9 p.m. on virtually every major news network.

According to the Nielsen TV ratings company, 52.3 million viewers watched Obama’s 2009 address.

After hitting that high-water mark, viewership has declined 36 percent from 2009 to 2013.

Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address garnered the second lowest viewership figures since Nielsen first began recording such data in 1993. More than 33.4 million people tuned in, the fewest since scandal-plagued President Clinton’s 2000 address.

Clinton’s State of the Union viewership data also similarly declined.

Clinton’s inaugural 1993 address brought 66.9 million people to their television screens, according to Nielsen. Clinton’s viewership decreased from 53 million in 1998 to 43.5 million in 1999 to then 31.4 million in 2000, the end of his second term.

For the Obama and Bush administrations, the speech’s viewership parallels a decline in public approval ratings for both the president and Congress.

Republicans have chosen Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the top-ranking GOP woman in Congress, to give their lead televised response to Obama.