Biden speech audience lower than Trump’s, but not 11.6 million
Social media posts and websites claim that US President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress on April 28, 2021 drew 11.6 million viewers, a significant drop from predecessor Donald Trump’s addresses. But Biden’s speech drew an estimated 26.9 million people, and the 11.6 million figure was an early number from audience measurement firm Nielsen.
“TV Ratings for Presidential Addresses: Trump 17--48,000,000; Trump 18--46,000,000; Trump 19--46,800,000; Trump 20--37,200,00 ; Biden 21--11,600,000,” conservative pundit Charlie Kirk tweeted on April 29, 2021, the day after Biden, America’s 46th president, spoke.
“No crowds at his rallies. No crowd at his inauguration. Empty chamber for his speech. Virtually no viewers at home. 81,000,000 votes?” he wrote, hinting at debunked claims that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump.
However, it is inaccurate to say there were only 11.6 million viewers of Biden’s remarks, which was not a State of the Union Address, as were three of the Trump speeches listed.
The company’s data is routinely cited by media organizations after key events. It later released its final estimate for viewers of Biden’s speech, which was 26.9 million -- considerably higher than the initial 11.6 million number.
Nielsen’s 26.9 million figure accounts for live coverage including out-of-home viewing and connected TVs, but not internet streaming, radio, and other formats.