President Obama’s State of the Union address this past Tuesday night had the lowest viewership in 14 years. Less than 33.3 million Americans tuned in to hear our nation’s leader discuss his plans for the country. Interestingly, voter turnout in the last two presidential elections was the highest it has been since Nixon’s 1968 victory. So what is going on here? Is the president only exciting around elections, but now just tiresome?
As trends indicate, state of the union address viewership declines in the year following an election. This has certainly been the case with Obama who has fallen from 52 million viewers in 2009 following his first election. The interesting thing to look at though, is why this year has produced such a low number, despite a relatively strong period of civic duty.
Among the most glaring reasons may be the past year of bipartisan bickering that has turned many Americans away from listening to elected officials. With the President’s struggle to pass legislation under a divided Congress, many feel that it doesn’t matter what his plans are. At the end of the day the elephant-donkey warfare will silence Obama’s voice. With two more addresses left, who knows how low the ratings will go.
Of course, not everyone will be losing viewers this week. The Super Bowl is expected to fetch over 110 million views, which would set the record for an individual program. That would be over 3 times what the President got on Tuesday. Maybe it’s time to have Peyton Manning give the State of the Union address instead.