Trump Inauguration Rating Second Highest in 36 Years; Could be Highest Ever if Online Views Are Counted

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Donald Trump’s inauguration ratings were the second-highest in 36 years, according to Nielsen.

The swearing-in of the 45th president was seen by 30.6 million viewers across 12 networks.

The only inauguration over the last three decades that tops Trump’s number in the linear ratings? Barack Obama’s first inauguration back in 2009, which had a record-setting 37.8 million viewers. So Trump was down from the last new president to take office.

But before that, to get an Inauguration Day number this high, you’d have to go all the way back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, who was seen by 41.8 million viewers (Nielsen released tracking for inauguration ratings back to 1969).

Trump’s numbers are all the more remarkable considering he’s entering into office with rather low approval ratings compared to past presidents and sparked protests worldwide along with vows to not watch his inauguration.

And actually, Trump could have been seen by more viewers than either Obama or Reagan. Nielsen ratings do not account for online viewing, which has grown sharply in recent years and is far more commonplace than even four years ago. CNN.com, for example, clocked 16.9 million live streams, tying with its Election Day coverage for the site’s top event (live stream tallies are typically not apples-to-apples with Nielsen’s strict methodology of counting average viewers, but are still additive). Plus, portals like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter offered live streams as well.

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SOURCE: JAMES HIBBERD 
Entertainment Weekly