Timing of Obama speech will likely hurt ratings

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

By agreeing to give his jobs speech at 7 p.m. tonight, before the opening game of the NFL, President Obama has virtually assured that the ratings would be lower than typical speeches to a joint session of Congress.

The speech will air at 4 p.m on the West Coast, while many people will still be at work, and that time zone represents 16 percent of all television households in the United States.

To get a better sense of how the viewership may pan out, check the following numbers I obtained via from Bill Gorman of the website TVbythenumbers, of the number of households with televisions in each time zone based on the most recent data from Nielsen. The total for the United States is 114.7 million. I calculated the percentages myself.

-- Eastern (speech starts at 7 p.m.) 55,650,000 households, or 49% of U.S. total.

--Central (speech starts at 6 p.m.) 33,580,000, or 16% of total.

-- Mountain (speech starts at 5 p.m.) 7,380,000, or 6% of total.

-- Pacific (speech starts at 4 p.m.) 18,090,000, or 16% of total.

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Philip Klein

Commentary Editor
The Washington Examiner