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Trump’s TV Ratings Reinforce Cultural Divide

The President’s Address to Congress rated higher than the Oscars, the Daytona 500, and President Obama’s last address, but lower than Obama’s first.

Over 40 million viewers tuned into President Trump’s widely acclaimed first address to Congress Tuesday night, and the numbers indicating where they watched reinforced a cultural divide that appeared in TV ratings for the Oscars and Daytona 500.

Trump received his highest ratings mostly in markets located in states that voted Republican in 2016. Ft. Myers, FL, West Palm Beach, FL, Nashville, TN, and Greenville, SC were 4 of the top 5 markets watching Trump’s address – all states that went red. The Hartford market, in blue Connecticut, also found itself among the top 5 markets watching Trump’s speech.

On Sunday, viewers from across the United States watched the Daytona 500 and the Academy Awards. The two traditional American events drew their crowds from different geographical, cultural, and political areas. States that voted for Trump tuned into the annual NASCAR race, while states that voted for Clinton viewed the Oscars.

Not coincidentally, the states containing the top rated markets from the Daytona 500 heavily overlapped with the states including the top rated markets for Trump’s address to Congress.

Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina represented 4 of the top 5 markets for Trump’s address, while Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Indiana (all Trump states) represented all of the top 5 markets for the Daytona 500.

Meanwhile, Trump’s address blew the 2017 Oscars out of the water, outperforming the gathering of elite filmmakers by 24 percent.

The 2016 Oscars outrated President Obama’s 2016 address by 6 percent as Obama drew the lowest rated crowd in the history of ratings for an Address to a Joint Session of Congress.

However, Obama’s first address rated 17 percent higher than Trump’s address.

Given the extraordinary, historic, and unprecedented nature of Obama’s first address as the country’s first black president, Trump’s loss to Obama is not surprising.