Politics

Official reports show President Biden’s first address to Congress received smallest audience in decades

Around 27 million people watched President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28th, drawing a smaller audience than most other comparable presidential addresses in recent history.

According to Nielsen, President Biden’s speech drew about 26.9 million viewers which measured the event’s audience on 16 major cable and broadcast networks. By comparison, President Biden’s address, which was not officially billed as a State of the Union address, earned fewer viewers than Trump’s first speech to Congress in 2017 which had 47.7 million viewers Additionally, 37.2 million people watched Trump’s 2020 State of the Union speech across all cable and broadcast networks. This audience was the smallest in decades.

Obama’s State of the Union addresses ranged from 31.3 million viewers in 2016 to 48 million in 2010. Former President George W. Bush’s television audience oscillated between 37.5 million in 2008 and 62.1 million in 2003. Former President Bill Clinton’s ratings hit a low of 31.5 million in 2000. Some are suggesting that the dive in ratings may have had more to do with TV trends than who’s in the White House. Brian Stelter for CNN wrote, “The pandemic accelerated what has already been evident for years: Gradual erosion in live TV audiences in the United States.” He added, “Simply put, as more people spend more time watching on-demand programming, the public is less inclined to watch live events. Sagging ratings for award shows like the Emmys and the Oscars have underscored this trend.”

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ARTICLE: GABRIELLA ANTOS

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: KAISER HEALTH NEWS

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