Inagural Ratings Tank: What Happened?

President Obama And Change?

How times have changed for President Obama and popular interest.

If this year’s inauguration ceremony was a TV series, it would have brought cancellation to the show. Less than half as many Americans watched President Barack Obama’s second inauguration on cable news channels as they did on his first Inauguration Day in 2009.

Whereas around 17 million people watched Obama’s address on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News in 2009, only about 7 million watched on those channels this year.

During the 30 minutes the president took his second oath of office, some 3.1 million viewers watched on CNN, 2.3 million watched on MSNBC, and 1.3 million did so on Fox.

What a Difference Four Years Can Make

Back in 2009, 8.5 million viewers watched the inauguration on CNN, as did 5.5 million on Fox and 3 million on MSNBC.

What a difference four years can make when the first-time frosting on the cake is removed.

Among the three major broadcast networks, NBC led with 5.08 million viewers, according to Nielsen. ABC was second with 4.57 million, and CBS had 3.67 million.

Overall coverage by all networks netted a viewership of 20.6 million, down 46 percent from 37.8 million in 2009.

What Does That Mean, If Anything?

A Gallup survey found that 38 percent of respondents watched or listened to the inauguration ceremonies live while another 27 percent saw, read, or heard news coverage of the events.

Back in 2009, a whopping 60 percent of those polled watched the ceremonies, and 20 percent saw, read, or heard news coverage. That means nearly one-third of Americans didn’t watch or read coverage of the ceremony.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 56 percent reported watching the inauguration ceremonies as they happened, compared to just 26 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Gallup discovered that of their respondents to the poll, 12 percent of respondents felt the speech was either poor or outright terrible compared to just 3 percent in 2009.

What has changed so drastically in those four short years?

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.