Not only was President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address widely lauded, but it was viewed by a record number of viewers as well.
According to Nielsen ratings, Trump’s speech earlier this week was the most watched State of the Union address in seven years.
Roughly 45.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the Republican deliver his first SOTU speech as president on Tuesday night, surpassing the last six addresses to Congress given by former President Barack Obama.
Twelve networks aired live coverage of the speech from around 9:00 p.m. ET to 10:30 p.m. ET, with other media outlets also covering the speech to varying degrees.
Other ratings indicators reveal the speech received considerable attention from the U.S. public.
Trump’s speech was the top social program for that day, garnering 21 million total interactions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Forty-one percent of the 21 million interactions occurred on Facebook alone. Another 52 percent took place on Twitter and 7 percent on Instagram.
Sixty-eight thousand Twitter interactions occurred at 10:04 p.m ET, right after Trump revealed his four-pillar plan on immigration — making it the highest social moment on the social media platform.
Top Twitter hashtags during the speech were: #stateoftheunion, #sotu, #maga and #stateofourunion.
Trump’s draw of 45.6 million viewers Tuesday night smashed then-President Obama’s final SOTU address in 2016, which only garnered a little over 31 million viewers.
The numbers may indicate that Americans are interested in a U.S. president’s very first SOTU speech.
In February 2009, when Obama gave his debut address to the Joint Sessions of Congress, 52,373,000 viewers tuned in. However, the 44th President saw his numbers decline almost every year afterward.
The excellent numbers for Trump come as his speech has been hailed by Republicans and independents alike.
According to a CBS News poll, 75 percent of respondents said they approve of Trump’s address, and only 25 percent said they disapprove.
An overwhelming majority of Americans who tuned in felt that Trump was trying to unite the country, not divide it. Two-thirds of respondents said the speech made them feel proud and one-third said they felt safer.
Not only did respondents enjoy the speech, but most Americans gave approval for many of the policies the president addressed, stating their support for Trump’s proposals on national security, infrastructure and immigration.
Trump’s address boosted the credit given to him for the U.S. economy. Before the speech, 51 percent of Americans gave him thanks for the growing economy. Immediately following the speech, that number rose to 54 percent.
“Even in foreign policy and national security, this speech a perfect blend of strength and empathy. These heroic stories break our hearts, but sturdy our resolve,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz.
“This is the Trump his voters wanted him to be.”
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