Nielsen: 20.6 Million Watched Inauguration, Ratings Down 46%

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By Alex Weprin Comment

Nielsen says that 20.6 million people across 18 networks watched President Obama be sworn in for his second term Monday. As we noted yesterday, NBC led the way among broadcasters, with CNN topping cable news.

The 20.6 million figure was down from 37.8 million viewers in 2009, a drop of 46%. That said, it was an improvement over George W. Bush‘s second inauguration in 2005, which saw a similar percentage drop from his first.

In a post explaining the numbers, Nielsen throws in this factoid:

[V]iewership has historically slid for second term inaugurations. Pres. Richard Nixon is the only president in recent history that has seen an increase; he notched a 22 percent increase during his second term inauguration.