Obama inauguration viewership plunges

The numbers are coming in for television viewership of President Obama’s second inauguration, and they are dramatically lower than the figures for the president’s first swearing-in in 2009. While there were a number of factors that account for the change, the biggest is that Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who watched Obama’s inauguration four years ago simply tuned out this year.

Gallup reports that 38 percent of those included in an overnight survey said they watched Monday’s inauguration ceremony, while 27 percent said they saw some news coverage, for a total of 65 percent. That’s down from the 60 percent who watched the ’09 ceremony and 20 percent who saw coverage, for a total of 80 percent. And Obama’s 2013 numbers are not only down from his first inaugural; they’re down from the 40 percent who watched George W. Bush’s 2005 second swearing-in and the 33 percent who saw some news coverage, for a total of 73 percent.

The partisan breakdown in this year’s audience is striking. Fifty-six percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents told Gallup they watched the ceremony Monday. Just 26 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents watched. Both numbers are down from 2009, but the GOP drop was far bigger than the drop among Democrats. Four years ago, 70 percent of Democrats watched the ceremony, along with 51 percent of Republicans. That means viewership this year was down 14 percentage points among Democrats, and 25 percentage points among Republicans.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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