Feb 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's State of the Union gets lowest ratings since he took office

President Trump delivers the State of the Union address flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly 37.2 million people tuned in to watch President Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday, according to Nielsen — the fewest number of people that have tuned into the yearly address so far during his presidency.

Why it matters: The event happened amid an already chaotic news cycle surrounding the president's impeachment trial and the Iowa causes. Axios has reported that generally, viewers are beginning to tune out of lots of political storylines, due mostly to saturation.

Be smart: Like most television viewership these days, the vast majority of the viewers of this year's address came from those age 55+.

  • To no surprise, Fox News by far had the biggest audience. The network has consistently led in overall cable news ratings for many years.

By the numbers:

  • 2019: 46,789,000 million
  • 2018: 45,551,000 million
  • 2017: 47,741,000 million

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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The week of President Trump's impeachment acquittal was Fox News' fifth most-watched week and its highest since the weeks surrounding the 2016 election and the president's inauguration, AP reports.

Why it matters: Fox News averaged 4.27 million viewers in prime time last week. The basic cable network was bested only by major networks ABC, which televised the Academy Awards, and CBS.

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White House names Interior Secretary Bernhardt designated survivor

Trump and Bernhardt in the White House on Jan. 9. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was named the designated survivor for this year's State of the Union address, according to the White House pool report.

What it means: Bernhardt is at a secure, undisclosed location throughout the evening and is the administration official in the line of succession who would assume the presidency in the unlikely case of disaster taking out the leaders assembled for President Trump's address.

Go deeper: What to expect from Trump's State of the Union address