President Trump’s first official State of the Union address drew a smaller audience than those of his two predecessors, and that of his first address to Congress last year. It drew a bigger audience than last year, however, for the president’s favorite news channel, Fox News.
On the Big 4 broadcast networks and the three top cable news channels — Fox News, CNN and MSNBC — the State of the Union drew 40.54 million viewers. Spanish-language broadcasters Univision (2.04 million) and Telemundo (1.44 million), plus Fox Business (572,000) and PBS (1 million) bring the total up to 45.6 million.
That’s about 4.5 percent short of the 47.74 million who tuned in for Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress in February 2017 (it wasn’t officially a State of the Union address).
By comparison, Barack Obama’s first State of the Union brought in 48.01 million viewers in 2010, and George W. Bush’s first in 2002 drew 51.77 million. Trump’s address came in slightly behind Bill Clinton’s first State of the Union in 1994, which averaged 45.8 million viewers.
Fox News easily had the biggest audience for the address with 11.71 million, up from 10.77 million for last year’s address. NBC (7.06 million) and CBS (6.99 million) were tops on broadcast. ABC drew 5.4 million people, FOX 3.6 million, CNN 3.11 million and MSNBC 2.67 million.