Fewer Viewers for Obama’s SOTU Speech

State of the Union draws smallest audience since Bill Clinton’s in 2000.

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The president's College Scorecard could be a useful tool for students trying to choose a college.

President Obama has been getting positive news coverage for his State of the Union address this week, but many Americans have tuned him out.

Viewership of his speech Tuesday night was down by 4 million people from his State of the Union a year ago, dropping to 33.8 million from 37.8 million in 2012, according to the Nielsen company, which measures TV ratings.

[READ: Obama Sketches a Broad Agenda in State of the Union]

This is part of a pattern of gradually declining viewership for Obama's State of the Union addresses over the years. He drew nearly 43 million viewers in 2011, 48 million in 2010, and 52.4 million in 2009, his first State of the Union speech.

In fact, Obama's address this week had the worst ratings of any similar speech since 2000, when Bill Clinton gave his final State of the Union and drew only 31.5 million viewers.

The president's College Scorecard could be a useful tool for students trying to choose a college.

[PHOTOS: Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address]

One explanation for Obama's declining ratings is that some of his luster has worn off. It's also possible that his ideas have become so familiar that Americans don't expect him to say much that's new, or that he is so divisive that voters who don't like him don't watch.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.