State of the Union address - number of viewers 1993-2020

Donald Trump's 2020 State of the Union Address was watched by 37.2 million viewers across the United States, almost 21 percent down on the previous year's viewer figures. Trump's highest ratings were in 2017, when his State of the Union Address drew in an audience of almost 48 million.

State of the Union Address – additional information

The State of the Union Address, delivered annually by the President of the United States to a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate, attracts varying number of viewers, depending on the popularity of the president and the economic and social conditions in the country at the time. In the presented period, the 1993 Address, presented by Bill Clinton, gathered the largest audience with nearly 70 million viewers, whereas the 2000 speech, also by Clinton, drew the smallest number of viewers – 31.5 million.
Barack Obama delivered eight State of the Union Address speeches during his tenure, each with fewer viewers than the previous one. The first speech in 2009 gathered 52.4 million people in front of TV screens, but that figure fell to 31.33 million in 2016. The 2014 address, however, was among the most discussed TV specials on Twitter in the 2013-14 season, reaching 8.8 million users. In 2013, the most discussed issues from Barack Obama’s speech were education, minimum wage and economy.
Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration was the second most viewed inauguration since 1969. It gathered nearly 38 million viewers, beaten only by Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration with approximately 42 million viewers. Both Obama’s and Reagan’s second inauguration speeches attracted significantly smaller audiences. The same was true for Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s second inauguration speeches. An exception to the rule is Richard Nixon whose 1969 speech gathered 27 million viewers, growing to nearly 33 million in 1973.

Number of viewers of the State of the Union addresses from 1993 to 2020

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Sources

Release date

February 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1993 to 2020

Age group

2 years and older

Supplementary notes

* Not official State of the Union addresses.

The figures have been rounded.

Figures prior to 2020 come from earlier reports.

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