Biden State of the Union draws 27.3M viewers, 2nd smallest in 30 years

The only smaller audience for a president's annual address to Congress since 1993 was the 26.9 million viewers during President Biden's 2021 address.
President Joe Biden delivering his State of the Union address.
Posted at 1:20 PM, Feb 09, 2023

An estimated 27.3 million people watched President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on television, the second smallest audience for the annual event in at least 30 years, the Nielsen company said on Wednesday.

It was also down nearly 28% from the 38.2 million people who saw President Biden's address in 2022.

The only smaller audience since 1993 was the 26.9 million who watched President Biden's address to Congress in 2021 — not officially a State of the Union speech, since he had just taken office a few months earlier. That speech was delivered on the unusually late date of April 28.

Do State of the Union speeches still matter?

Do State of the Union speeches still matter?

Does this annual tradition of our president addressing Congress still have the same impact that it used to?


Nielsen did not have figures available from before President Bill Clinton's first address to Congress, which reached 66.9 million people in 1993, when entertainment options were fewer.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of the people who watched President Biden's speech were 55 and older, Nielsen said. Only 5% were young adults under age 35.

The speech was carried live on 16 television networks.

President Biden's largest audience came on Fox News Channel, where the speech was seen by 4.69 million people, Nielsen said. ABC had 4.41 million viewers for President Biden, NBC had 3.78 million, CBS had 3.64 million, MSNBC had 3.55 million, CNN had 2.4 million and the Fox broadcast network had 1.66 million.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

GOP on State of the Union: 'Biden and the Democrats have failed you'

GOP on State of the Union: 'Biden and the Democrats have failed you'

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders told her audience that Biden and the Democratic Party "failed you. You know it, and they know it."