As President Obama heads into what promises to be a very tough re-election campaign, the ratings for his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night show that voters’ interest in the President’s message may be on the wane.
In the third State of the Union speech of his first term, the ratings were down 12% from 2011 and 28% from his first speech before a joint session of Congress.
According to Nielsen, Tuesday’s speech averaged 37.7 million viewers, which was down from 42.7 in 2011 and 48 million in 2010.
On the social media front, twitter reported that there were a total of 766,681 tweets for their five official hashtags. The most tweets resulted from Obama’s mention of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, which were mostly positive, and his spilled milk joke, which were overwhelmingly negative.
Twitter also reported that there were a total of 548 tweets from members of Congress, which is remarkably low for such a large group of politicians. Perhaps they were worried about getting caught on television playing with their BlackBerry’s and not giving full attention to the President.
Bill Clinton holds the record for a presidential address with nearly 67 million people tuning in for his first speech before a joint session of Congress on Feb 17, 1993, though it wasn’t officially a State of the Union address.
UPDATE: TVNewser  reports that according to a study of the tuning behavior of 100,000 households in the moments leading up to, during and after the State of the Union speech, 27% tuned out after the first five minutes.