February 25th, 2009
09:15 AM ET
5 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. suz

    This is a close to the "fireside" chat that FDR gave back during the depression. The president for having so MANY issues of a serious nature to juggle and with only 35 days on the job has shown a tremendous amount of knowledge and understanding about the plight of many Americans.

    This was an uplifting, yet pragmatic speech. I was thrilled to hear him talk about Americans pursuing some form of higher education. This is one area that must be addressed as Amercia has been "dumbed" down enough.

    His speech shows hope and yet askd US Americans to do our part.

    Jindal came off as negative and not realistic to the problems of this country and fell back on ideolgy.

    We as Americans must give the President an opportunity to Succedd rather than be caught in the past cycle of fail.

    February 25, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. LYNETTE IN CA

    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!
    BRILLIANT!

    February 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. RLE

    J you and the republicans with your unsubstantiated talking points President Obama has done more in 34 days then Bush did in an entire to right this country. He also gave a mandate for congress to pen another bill, were you listening. I think you need to pay closer to facts and stop listening to conservative radio and tv at

    February 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Robin in SC

    Why the complaints about not enough specifics? I, for one, would NOT have wanted to hear the boring details of these plans...that's why we elect Congressmen (for good or bad). I just want to know there's a plan and someone willing to implement and enforce it. I got that last night from Obama. This was the most engaging and important presidential speech I've heard in my lifetime and it came across as sincere, honest, and determined. I'm behind you, Obama.

    February 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. hello

    I THINK THERE IS COORDINATION GOING ON BETWEEN STOCK MARKET AND REPUBLICAN TO BRING DOWN PRESIDENCY OF OBAMA.
    WHAT DETAILS PLAN THEY ARE DEMANDING FROM SPEECH GIVEN TO JOINT CONGRESS.
    DO THEY WANT PRESIDENT TO READ THOUSAND PAPERS WITH DETAILS IN HIS SPEECH?
    MEDIA IS ALSO CULPRIT OF THIS.

    February 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. mary dale

    THe speech was great, so nice after 8 years of listening to Bush to know that our country is again in the hands of someone with a brain who actually understands what it is like to struggle. The republicans will not change, just watch cspan today to see what i mean. They will vote no on everything to fix the country and use the deficit as an excuse (even tho they grew it by leaps and bounds with their gifts to the rich and businesses with no accountablity that got us into this mess and gave Bush a free ticket to screw America). This ploy might have worked in the 1980's when there was little news that wasnt pushed by the rich media owners, but now that we have the internet and we the people can actually see what is going on without someone telling us how they think it is going, the republicans will have their work cut out . I think we will survive, if the republicans continue to fight against America, America will let them know what its like to be out of a job.

    February 25, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. jummai

    i am wondering when negative people and war mongers would get off the face of the earth. if you don't like Obama as your president, do us all a favor and go dive into the nearest ocean otherwise you are stuck with him for at least four years of your sad lives!

    February 25, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Axl in Iowa

    If all you people want is welfare, and it seems to me most do. Then fill out the friggin application and quit waitin' for Obama to do it for you. Keep in mind you can't buy a house or a luxury car with food stamps. This country is full of too many wanna-be's lookin' for free ride. People need to realize, prosperity is EARNED, not pretended or handed to you by the government. The party's over, now get out!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. hello

    IAM ASHAMED OF BOBY JINDAL

    February 25, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Charise

    If the people on here are so disgusted with President Obama & feel that he isn't doing you any justice.....LEAVE. Go to Canada, Mexico, Brazil...go somewhere or just sit back & shut the h.e.l.l. up & get behind the president. And while you're on your way to the border stop off in Louisiana & tell Bobby Jindal that accepting PART of the stuimulus isn't going to fly. Tell him to go down to the unemployment office & tell the people there that HE is the one who is refusing to help them & while he's at it he can go over to the 9th ward & see how they fell about him not accepting money to help them. And he is suppose to be the voice for the Republican party???? I guess Malia will graduate high school while living in the White House.

    February 25, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Veronica

    Great job president Obama.You inspired me.I will do my part to get America out of this mess.

    February 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Rodmyr Plantin

    Barack Obama was excellent. I'm completely confident Barack Obama will fulfill each and everyone of his promises in his first and second term. Noticed I said second term. Barack Obama showed great leadership and is pragmatic in solving the issuses we as a nation have. He outlined enough details on how, when, what, where, and why we can accomplish our goals. I've always been confident in Barack Obama's leadership and this speech is an additional assurance. Barack Obama best president ever in America. One month in office and he's already done a better job than half of his predecessors.

    February 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. mamosa

    It is understandable that rich Republlicans are against Obama. He will raise their taxes to pay for these programs. I say this is fair because many of them are responsible for the destruction of our economic system. They have been riding too high and taking too much for themselves out of the system and avoiding taxes.

    Prepare to hear a lot of Republican squeeling!

    February 25, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. John

    Blah blah more socialist/communist rantings from a block-head (that sin't even elligible to be in office...fork up that birth certificate, buddy) that has no clue what he's doing. The National Banking system did wonders for Brittain. Ask a Brit how much they just loooooove their national banking system. Ask them how they just looooove their nationl health care system. The answer is they DON'T.

    Need another example? Ask a Canadian how much they just love their national healthcare system. They'll tell you how much they absolutely DESPISE it. I know one Canadian, who lives close to the American border and refuses to go to a Canadian hospital or physican because they are that bad.

    For the record: socialism and communism didn't work for China, it didn't work for Russia, it's not working for Brittain and it's NOT going to work for us.

    The problem is that Congress has become such a joke that it is really, really frightening. No one in Washington has a clue as to what they are doing. They are passing whatever bill they decide to float down the Potomac that day. Why? Because the monkeys are ruling the zoo. Yep, the democrats in office are about as useful as a barrel of monkeys in a china shop and they have the controlling hand. What a crying shame. Want proof?

    Head over thomas.loc.gov and take a look at the bills that have crossed the floor of the House and the Senate. It is appalling. If George Washington were alive today he would be calling for a firing squad for everyone in congress (after getting out of his coffin mind you). I really think the founding fathers would be absolutely sick over the state of this country today. It is NOT what they in mind.

    Some have said that Obama is "inspiriational", the only thing he inspires is explosive projectile vomiting. He is worse than Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George Bush all rolled into 1 big fat failure turtle and multiplied by a thousand. He is beyond useless.

    February 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. David

    Nice how he went from gloom and doom then took the advice of Bill Clinton and went all positive. He's so clueless. But he is the one the elites wanted to front for them in this two-party scam.

    February 25, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. S, Miami, FL

    Stimulus Bill to Nowhere February 25th, 2009 10:46 am ET

    George W. Bush gave a better speech and would have a better plan for getting us through this economic problem. And no, it wasn't Bush who got us into it…that was a combination of over-correcting interest rates by the Federal Reserve Bank and poor greedy decisions by Wall Street buying all those poorly crafted mortgage loans. It was not GWB policies or actions.

    Well former President Bush, glad to see you're spending your time blogging on CNN's site. I know you have nothing to do now that you're not President any longer, but no one really cares what you think.

    February 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. sue

    If people will actually listen to President Obama, he has a very consistant message. He doesn't waiver from speech to speech. A delight to have someone making an effort.

    Good Job Mr. President!

    February 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Gary

    This P{resident has no idea what he is talking about. He is a liar from Chicago southside. He has crooks like Rahm Emanuel, Gethner, Eric Holderm in his cabinet,.Giving loud speeches, does not help the cause. He will go down as he came up. All are cheats.

    February 25, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Change in America

    President Obama is great for our country,,,,,,,Bush never told American people what really going on with country fallen apart.

    Gov Jindal need to stay Baton Rouge and never leave he sound awful...I hope the republican work with Obama to make our country better....Jindal need not to be elected next term

    February 25, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Veronica

    To digger......WE DONT CARE.

    February 25, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. BW

    I'll quit making truthful, critical comments about the Great O. if you liberals promise to do something about removing Pelosi. Holy crap! Trying to watch the Great One speak last night was nearly impossible. I'm not even sure what he said...but I bet if I ask a liberal on this ticker, they'll let me know that his words were verbal drops of orgasmic gold!

    February 25, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. D-MI

    @ Mike

    Well sir, you are correct about the National Debt...

    Now would you care to post similar numbers about the federal deficit?
    Yeah, tell me how "little" the Bush / Halliburton presidency increased that...

    February 25, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. hopeles, chicago

    He says he wont bail out people "who bought more house than they could afford", but responsible people who bought houses "they could afford" dont need to be bailed out. EVERYBODY who is in trouble bought more house than they could afford.

    If it was in an excel spreadsheet, you'd get a "Circular Reference" warning.

    February 25, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. marty

    What a wonderful speech!?! How can anyone use so many words and say so very little? More money for energy, more money for health, more money for education, more money for infrastructure. Where does all this come from? Taxes. And the top 2% are not going to provide enough for all this extra spending. Will the President's Achilles heel prove to be 'not one dime' of taxes on anyone making less that $250k? Sort of like 'read my lips, no new taxes' was another President's downfall? The reality is that we cannot tax our way out of a recession and we cannot spend our way out of a recession. The belt has to be tightened by all of us, citizens and government. And so far, that hasn't been the message. Case in point, the current omnibus bill in Congress for $410 billion dollars with nearly 9000 earmarks. You may argue that it amounts to a few percentage points of the whole bill, but that few points, added to a few more points in waste reduction added to a few points of new reductions in spending could add up to a significant savings for the whole nation. Congress, take out the earmarks, trim the spending, and let this economy get moving.

    February 25, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. BW

    Also, some of you liberals need to get your facts straight about the "so-called" rich GOP. The WSJ provided simple and concise information that the average Democrat in office has a 36% higher net worth than the average Republican. And watch this...68% of "Big Business" contributions and lobbying monies go to the Democrats. Please focus on the truths as opposed to your misguided liberal tendencies.

    February 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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