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Barack Obama's inauguration draws 37.8M, second only to Reagan's

Barack Obama's inauguration was the second most-watched in history, with an average of 37.8 million total viewers tuning in Tuesday.

Only Ronald Reagan's first inaugural in 1981 had a bigger audience, with 41.8 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Nielsen's Tuesday measurement counted the audience for 17 broadcast and cable networks. The figure represents live viewing as well as programming recorded on DVRs and played back later in the day. However, it doesn't include viewers in offices, schools and other "out-of-home" locations, nor does it measure the number who watched streaming video online. Nielsen provides statistics for inaugurations dating back to 1969; because of population growth and increases in TV ownership in recent years, it is unlikely audiences were significantly larger before that date.

Because they occur during the workday hours for most Americans, inaugurations tend to draw relatively modest audiences. The No. 3 inaugural was the 1977 swearing-in for Jimmy Carter (34.1 million). The least-watched was George W. Bush's second inaugural in 2005 (15.5 million).

— Scott Collins   

Comments () | Archives (17)

If you combine TV viewership with online viewership than Obama's inauguration most likely was the most watched inauguration in history.

Obama's inauguration was the most watched online event of alll time.

I would personnally like to know if President Obama swore in on the Holy Bible or if it was the bible of the muslim religion?


Rhonda wrote: I would personnally like to know if President Obama swore in on the Holy Bible or if it was the bible of the muslim religion?

Now Rhonda -- It's hard to believe that someone capable of posting to a website discussion thread lacks the ability to find any one of the ten trillion photos of the swearing-in. Gosh, golly, gee -- I hate to say this, but It really makes me wonder if your question, and your motives, are sincere.

Rhonda Brown

He used the same bible that President Lincoln used. If Lincoln used a Muslim bible, then he makes two presidents. Now what do you have to say about Lincoln's bible?

Keep up with the news and what he is doing to make a better place for you in America.

I really enjoyed going to DC and watching Barrack Oboma becoming our 44th president even though it was very very cold i really enjoyed the experience as an young adult i am very glad i was there to see a change and history been done i mostly cried because i been i tough situations and im only 15 years old and i put my mom down a lot but i think if oboma can make a change then i can

Love the comments by blind Obama followers, especially Michelle. Given evidence that more people watched Reagan's, Michelle insists that more people watched Obama's.

Obama can't be beaten in anything. He is the Messiah!

Don't waste your time responding to Rhonda's comments. She probably gets her views from Sean Hannity on Fox News. There are people out there, no matter how you explain to them that the president is not a muslim, will never believe you. It's like squeezing blood out of a stone, that's how difficult it is. Thank God these kinds of people make a minority.

Some basic math for Michelle:

Reagan had 41.8M viewers which is 18.5% of the 1980 population of the US (226M).
Obama had 37.8M viewers which is 12.4% of the current population of the US (304M).
There would have to have been an additional 18.4M viewers on-line to equal the percentage of the population viewing Reagan's inaugural. Finally, since there was no true internet in 1980, people with jobs, who would have been more inclined to watch a Republican's inaugural, did not have that option.

An aside, did anyone else notice how much garbage was left on the ground at the inauguration by people who supposedly care about the environment?

my comment is for cnnbc for larry potter after knowing him sine i was 19 he has been a hard worker paid his taxes like everyone elsei to praise him for all he has done for the ppl of illinois so i too think he is a hero that should be praised not booed

Mark - since CNN.com alone had over 13.9 M webviewers, I think your 18.4 M was easily reached.

why are you a hater HE IS YOUR NEW PRESIDENT so get over it and deal. Or you'll have the next 4-8 years ageing not so gracfully

YOU people need to just stop the under counting you know good and well that 2million were strong in counting. We wre all there witnessing this HISTORICAL moment and you Rush and fox news just want to crush it . You cant't break the democractic spirit. I hope he shuts your radio station down and fox news you guys are fake and racist . Guess what ! we won .Like PRESIDENT OBAMA said YES WE CAN ,YES WE DID!!!!!!!!

So what garbage was left , didn't you think the city was aware of this ? Wast here not any trash left behind at any other inauguaration? That just goes to show you will find anything to pick or try to insult YOUR PRESIDENT get a frickin life and find something eles to whine about Jerk!!!!

Are u people serious Barack's inauguration took place during the day Reagan's was in the evening but I still believe Barack drew a bigger audience. I realize u people are republicans so I expect nothing less but President Obama is talking about helping all the people but he stiil can't catch a break from u rednecks u people are comedy (lol)

Sure are a lot of people on here that can not spell or use proper grammar.

I would just like to point out that many of the Obama supporters cannot spell or use correct grammar. These so called "redneck republicans" are at least literate. Just goes to show how ignorant people can make or break an election.


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