Although Barack Obama won reelection this past November, a good number of his supporters apparently didn’t care enough to tune in to TV coverage of his second inauguration. Compared to Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, a whopping, almost 50 percent fewer people tuned in to watch Obama sworn in for a second time. Back in 2009, an impressive 37.8 million Americans watched as Obama was inaugurated for the first time, motivated by his promises to fix the economy, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and stop the divisiveness in the political climate.
4 years later, though, after an Obama record that includes an economy with almost permanent, 8-percent unemployment, American soldiers still dying in Afghanistan, and politics being more divisive than ever before, only 20.6 million people tuned in for the president’s second inauguration. This represents a 46-percent drop from the number of viewers Obama enjoyed in 2009 for his first inauguration.
For comparison purposes, George W. Bush lost exactly the same percentage of viewers from his first inauguration. Whereas Bush got 29 million viewers in 2001, he got 15.5 million for his second inauguration in 2005, which resulted in a drop of 46 percent, too.
Even so, it is the historical norm that fewer viewers tune in to a president’s second inauguration. In fact, in recent memory, only Richard Nixon was able to garner more viewers in his second inauguration than in his first. Viewership for his second inauguration saw a 22-percent increase.
Still, I don’t think we should read too much into these disappointing viewership numbers. After all, on the flip side, Obama’s polarity/divisiveness ratings are extraordinarily high, so at least he’s got that going for him.