Inauguration Ratings Not Huge: Trump Trails Reagan, Obama, Carter, Nixon

Donald Trump’s inauguration was watched by an estimated 30.6 million American TV viewers, ranking it fifth in Inauguration Day ratings, according to estimates released Saturday by Nielsen.

Nielsen said the estimate was based on the sum of the average audience for 12 networks' measures during common coverage of the inauguration on Friday.

Trump, a former reality TV star known to spin his ratings performance, trailed four other American presidents’ Inauguration Day Nielsen ratings, including (in this order): Ronald Reagan (41.1 million American viewers in 1981), Barack Obama (37.8 million in 2009), Jimmy Carter (34.1 million in 1977), and Richard Nixon (33.0 million in 1973).

The ratings are not directly comparable, because there were more networks available for viewing live coverage in recent years, but also more competition from alternative electronic media outlets, especially the Internet.

The ratings represented in Friday’s estimates included: ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Galavision, HLN and MSNBC.

6 comments about "Inauguration Ratings Not Huge: Trump Trails Reagan, Obama, Carter, Nixon".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 23, 2017 at 8:55 a.m.

    How many streamed it online instead of watching linear channels?

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., January 23, 2017 at 9:13 a.m.

    Good question Douglas. The only data we have so far -- user traffic to Twitter's inauguration stream -- is down from comparable events. Off 23% from Election Day. Though Russian viewing has doubled:

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 23, 2017 at 10:08 a.m.

    I didn't watch Twitter's stream. I guess a lot of us didn't get counted.

  4. Chuck Lantz from, network replied, January 23, 2017 at 4:53 p.m.

    Yes, Mr. Ferguson, I'd bet that many, many millions of loyal Trump supporters who watched the inaugural "didn't get counted." Which was at least partially due to a glitch in the Alternative Facts Machine's internal workings. Apparently, no one could find enough powdered eye of newt on short notice.

  5. John Grono from GAP Research replied, January 24, 2017 at 2:52 a.m.

    Chuck, snake oil is a more than useful substitute when the eye of newt runs out.

  6. Chuck Lantz from, network, January 24, 2017 at 4:57 p.m.

    Thank you, John.  I'll make a note of that, if I can ever get this quill pen dipped in pig's blood from clotting. 

Next story loading loading..