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Trump's First Address to Congress Draws Smaller Crowd Than Obama in Early Ratings

Image: Trump's First Address to Congress Draws Smaller Crowd Than Obama in Early Ratings

 (AP)

Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 09:49 AM

President Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening, and while the pundit class may be heaping praise on the performance, Nielsen's metered market overnight ratings indicate that he likely didn't draw as big a crowd as his predecessor.

Across seven networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC -- Trump's speech notched a 27.8 household rating in those early ratings. Across these same networks, President Obama's first address of a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, drew an overnight household rating of 33.4, a difference of about 17%.

Fox News drew the biggest household rating of these networks, with a 6.4. It was followed by NBC (5.5), CBS (4.6), ABC (4.0), CNN (3.0), Fox Broadcasting (2.3), and MSNBC (2.0).

Trump's speech was praised by some as an example that the president can stay on-message for at least an hour. "The speech may have given Trump a reset after a tumultuous start, but that could quickly dissipate in another sensational turn of the news cycle. If the first month of his presidency is any measure, that is more likely than not. As he gave the broad outlines of some of his policy priorities, Trump may have softened the rhetoric, but the fault lines on issues like immigration, healthcare, and diversity don't just fall away in the moment," Variety's Ted Johnson wrote in his live blog.

These are early numbers that tend to be directional -- final ratings will be available from Nielsen Wednesday afternoon. However, President Obama's first address ended up pulling in an audience of 52.37 million people across the four broadcast networks, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, and Univision. The audience for President George W. Bush's first address, at 39.79 million, was overshadowed by the State of the Union Address he delivered in 2003, which brought in 62.06 million viewers.

Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" went live so that Colbert could address the speech, and was rewarded in the overnight ratings with another win over Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" and Jimmy Kimmel's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," drawing a 2.7 household rating to a 2.2 for the "Tonight Show" and a 1.9 for Kimmel.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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President Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening, and while the pundit class may be heaping praise on the performance, Nielsen's metered market overnight ratings indicate that he likely didn't draw as big a crowd as his...
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Wednesday, 01 Mar 2017 09:49 AM
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