President Barack Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress, similar to a State of the Union address, was carried live by ten national TV networks and drew 52.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings.
The address was covered by ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. In sum, the speech drew a 32.5 rating/49 share and was watched in approximately 37.1 million homes.
By comparison, President George W. Bush’s first address to the joint sessions of Congress in 2001 was
carried by seven networks and was watched by fewer viewers than Obama
last night. That speech drew 39.7 million viewers and did a
Last year’s State of the Union, delivered by Bush, drew 37.5 million total viewers and was carried by nine national networks. Bush’s pre-Iraq War address in 2003 drew 62 million viewers (and earned a 38.8/56 rating).