February 25th, 2009
09:15 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Obama's speech scored with viewers

Two-thirds of those who watched the President's speech reacted favorably, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted after the speech Tuesday night.

Two-thirds of those who watched the President's speech reacted favorably, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted after the speech Tuesday night.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that two-thirds of those who watched President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress reacted favorably to his speech.

Sixty-eight percent of speech-watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey Tuesday night had a very positive reaction to the president's address, with 24 percent suggesting they had a somewhat positive response and 8 percent indicating they had a negative reaction.

Since the president is a Democrat, the audience watching his speech is a bit out of line with the nation's breakdown by party. The speech audience questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll is about 8 to 10 points more Democratic than the general public.

Eighty-five percent of those polled said the president's speech made them feel more optimistic about the direction the country is headed in the next few years, with 11 percent indicating the speech made the feel more pessimistic.

Eighty-two percent of speech watchers say they support the economic plan Obama outlined in his prime-time address, with 17 percent opposing the proposals.

"These are great numbers for Obama, but they are no better or worse that Bill Clinton or George W. Bush got after their first speeches to Congress," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

For example, 82 percent said they support the proposals Obama outlined in his speech tonight. After Bill Clinton's first address to Congress in February, 1993, 79 percent of speech-watchers supported his policies. And George W. Bush got virtually the same amount of support for his proposals after his first speech eight years ago.

"That may mean that speech-watchers were rallying around the new president as much as they were rallying around his proposals," says Holland. "That may strike a cautionary note for the Obama White House, since Clinton's proposals in 1993 were initially well-received but quickly ran into trouble with Congress and the American public."

A big question is whether the address, which was watched by millions across the country, changed any minds.

"Among speech-watchers, the number who thought Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction grew by 17 points after they listened to Tuesday's address," says Holland.

Eight out of ten said the president's plans will succeed in improving the economy, and 68 percent feel his proposals will work in reducing the federal deficit.

Three out of four questioned say that Obama's plan will succeed in improving health care, and 82 percent feel that his proposals will create or save jobs across the country.

The survey included 484 speech-watchers questioned by telephone minutes after the president finished his address. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

(Updated Tuesday, 11:30 p.m.)

Filed under: CNN poll • Obama address • President Obama
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Jim

    The poll is probably this high because the majority of those watching were dems.

    February 25, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Mike Dallas

    Shorter speech and it contains "no specifics".

    Longer speech and it is too "dry and professorial".

    There is no pleasing the cable chatter babbleheads!

    February 25, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. President Obama us a Bright Light/

    To all America, Please allow this bright light to shine. You are one of the luckiest country in the World. God send this man at this time, and this place, in this seasons to give us all hope, courage, strength, to
    pull thought this grave economical time. The President and the First Lady is a Joy to watch. American please stop all the negative, useless contradictions and give these wonderful people a chance to Lead. You have no other choice. Please put away your hatred, your anger, your political hangups for a few years and work with this President to put American back on the map. You own this to yourselves, your children, and your fellow Americans. If you don't this very positive era in American politices will be your Lost. CNN you also can lay off a bit off the negatives. I feel very depress when i watch your programs. You are always trying to poke holes in everything the President do. The tiny bits of positives regarding what is going in the White House you barely show.

    February 25, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. troy

    How could you pay attention to our President with Pelosi acting like such an idiot in the background. The state of CA should be ashamed that they keep electing her.

    February 25, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Sam Sixpack

    Perhaps Sixty-six percent of speech-watchers are communists.

    February 25, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. cheryl brooks from cali

    Totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is why he won the election. we have the best this country have to offer. He's no push-over either, he's a real leader. Sen. Ted Kennedy was right in his choice to support Obama during the election. He certainly was on the money.

    February 25, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Veteran from New York City, NY

    President Obama did a marvelous job. He posively put in propective what's lying ahead for this great Nation that we are all love. He proved once again that America can be the Free World Leader that she used to be.
    For those Republican that are looking for something to blame, the needed to blame themselves. For eight years while they were in majority, their Yes votes to every piece of legislatures put the country in the mess that we are in right now. Senator John McCain was so proud to let American people know that He voted with President Bush 90% of the time. So he greatly contributed to the failure of the economic disaster that America is facing now.
    For Bobby Jendal, whatever he said last night will be great commercial for 2012 campaign. The State of Louisiana is still in chambless, torn down still by Huricane Katrina, the trailers are still there, levy has not been in the best state, economy is in ruine in Louisiana, the Police force and certain law makers are corrupted and yet he has the nerve to talk about Bail out is irresponsible. What a shame. I am so glad that President Obama reminded the GOP that he just inherited that mess former President Bush left him to clean out.

    February 25, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Doug, New Jersey

    The lib media really doesn't even try to pretend that they are remotely objective anymore. If you ask only lib-bot sheep what they think of Obama obviously every one of them will be drooling with a thrill running up their leg. 1 million drones all screetching in unison yes we can, yes we can destroy a once glorious nation, yes we can force minorities to give up their political freedom, yes we can take from those who work hard and give to the lazy, yes we can change our nation to the United States of Karl Marx.

    February 25, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. momof7

    Great speech. And to all the Obama-haters, I hate to disappoint you but, he's on the right track. Just like Clinton. When you put the needs of the people first instead of your own selfish desires, God will bless your efforts. Remember how the country prospered under Clinton? The same will happened again under Obama. He has the favor of God on his side!

    February 25, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Frost/Tennessee

    What I don't understand is why the republican party doesn't get it. We the people voted for Change.. if we wanted the same ole song and dance we would have voted for the republicans. It wasn't voting against McCain or Palin it was voting against the party of more of the same crap. Now they are not fighting our President they are fighting the American people and our votes and our choice. They had their chance to jump on the train of recovery. The Voted NO.

    In the next election I believe this will repeated itself over and over and people will vote NO on the republican party. I have to wonder if they are in fact destroying their own party on purpose

    Get this.. WE believe in our President.
    How's this for Change.. Stop talking and get to work or just get out of the way..

    February 25, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. C White


    February 25, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Floyd in New York

    troy February 25th, 2009 12:08 pm ET

    How could you pay attention to our President with Pelosi acting like such an idiot in the background. The state of CA should be ashamed that they keep electing her.


    Same here! I wanted somebody to slap her and wipe that Grinch smile off of her face!!

    February 25, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Matt B

    The President tells us we can nationalize education, nationalize healthcare, lower taxes and print money like in a game of Monopoly…all while avoiding exceptional inflation and cutting the deficit? Same old "something for nothing" that all politicians continue to sell.

    Have people not realized that everytime the President or his cabinet speak, the global markets collapse because the plans are so ridiculous? We have a VP that says the administration has a 30% chance of failing, a Secretary of Treasury that entered his first press conference so unprepared that two economists wrote they felt sorry for him because he was so bad, we have a senior member of Congress saying we should nationalize the banking system and a President trying to sell an alternate universe to the people of this country because he knows most people will blindly follow him with whatever he does (please see an $800 billion stimulus package that several members of Congress admitted they didn't even have time to read before voting for it).

    February 25, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. 2Nurselady

    Splurge - I would rather that President Obama tells us the goals he has for the country and then take each goal and work with his teams of experts to decide how to best accomplish each goal. I would rather have this than empty promises such as those we had throughout the Bush presidency.

    February 25, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Sam Sixpack

    Fourty-nine percent of speech-watchers are communists.

    February 25, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. mtv

    Why not do a Poll of How many people the GOP pissed off with the the negative message telivised after the President gave his. Truely amazing how the GOP has NO SOLUTION to fix the mess they caused with their 8 year run............but alot of crititicing for some trying to fix their mess!!!!!!

    February 25, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. OneWiseGuy

    The 8 percent with the negative reaction probably didn't even watch or listen.

    February 25, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. MZ

    I'll have to form a "Committee on My Reaction to the Speech" to figure out what I thought of it.

    February 25, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. yuri

    We fondly look forward to the translation of his spectacular speech into resounding realities, with, hopefully, stock market responding by attracting the inquisitive investors like never before. The sterling performance by Obama only left his present and future foes, speechless in the states.

    February 25, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. li in PA

    I know that I've never received employment from a poor person.

    Jobs are outsourced in this country because of the government's high corporate tax rate! Cut corporate taxes and truly stimulate the economy. Don't look to the government for employment or we'll all be walking lock step in a parade!

    Truth be said, both parties are responsible for the non accountability of the banks. Fannie mae and Freddie mac were ordered to give substandard loans to others. I am so ticked that I have to pay for a bank's as well as an individual's irresponsibility. Actually, we should all be apologizing to our children they are the ultimate loser in all of this.

    February 25, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. JJ12345

    Could hardly watch the speech with that moron Pelosi in the background.

    February 25, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Linda

    Being able to give a good speech does not reflect intelligence.

    February 25, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. bennettsmyname

    Give the Man a break he said "where the car was basically invented" this was a term used loosely. Come on Cnn let's not ride his back here on any and everything that comes out of his mouth! My guess is that Prez. Bush didn't fall under the same scrutiny or your show would have extended it's time frame!

    February 25, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Biased

    It was an okay speech with very little hard facts to ease people's minds. Most of his campaign speeches were better than last night's one. In fact I wandered more to watching Pelosi act with no decorum rather than listening to Obama since he weally wasn't saying much that he hadn't already said.

    February 25, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. JA

    This guy can say and do anything if you believe what he says. One thing is evedent, he is a regular Fred Astair when it comes to dancing around and not hitting anything. A lot of people will be rudely awakened one day and when that happens, just remember who voted for him. Americans better wake up soon. This probably won't be published. It does not keep with the praise parade.

    February 25, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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