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During what has been such a tumultuous time for politics, you would have thought President Obama’s State of the Union address last night would have received record television ratings. You’d be wrong. Numbers for the broadcast of the President’s first address since being elected to a second term were down across all four major networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC). Meanwhile, Twitter activity was way up during the #SOTU, further exhibiting the public’s desire to make its voice heard instead of sitting idly.
A total of 18.7 million people watched the broadcast via the aforementioned networks, with demo ratings down an average of 27 percent. Last year, over 38 million people were tallied across the 14 total networks that carried the speech. It appears that, even after final stats are taken, this year will not come anywhere close to that.
Social media, particularly Twitter, was a separate story. Comments on the middle class and minimum wage owned the night as the most tweeted about issues, while gun violence took a close second. Even Senator Marco Rubio’s now infamous reach for a nearby water bottle during the Republican rebuttal received a fair amount of attention.
Using the official State of the Union hashtag – #SOTU – tweets nearly doubled from 2012’s speech, going from about 767,000 tweets to 1.36 million.