February 25th, 2009
09:15 AM ET
6 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. Hommer

    Hey BO, enough with the words. The campain is over. Show me the JOBS!!!

    February 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. AndrewW

    CNN can't do math.

    68% Very positive
    24% Slightly positive
    8% negative.

    So that's 92% positive, 8% negative. 92%=/= 2/3

    February 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Alisha, MN

    I was truly inspired to take personal accountability in my finances, higher education, health care reform etc. Just one thing to add regarding Gov. Jindal's Republican response, Gov. Jindal should officially change his name to Gov. Buzz kill.

    February 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. NY republican

    I have read both speeches last night and it seems they were quite similar.
    By way of explanation, I read the speeches to avoid all the orator's emoting and partisan cheering. I find it helps me to understand what is actually being said.
    Anyway, I find myself wondering if they were written by the same people, with the expected partisan "plot twists". It actually sounds that there is much common ground and both parties CAN work together if they actually listen to their leaders.

    February 25, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. cheryl brooks from cali

    He's a true leader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's The Best!!!!!

    February 25, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. sam

    I was disappointed... same old crap from the campaign trail... for a whild there I thought I had slipped in time...the past.. the past.. the past. I get furious every time I remember that my vote here in Florida for Clinton was't counted. Lots of us feel the same way.

    I want a leader that is genuine and capable and I just do not see any of that in Obama. He picked the best team he could get, a lot of Clinten era people. That's the smartest thing he could do... since he has zero experience and not the slightest clue what he is doing.

    February 25, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Marie in NV

    The speech was OK, but why can't CNN get an even crowd to judge speeches? How hard is that? If the numbers are always uneven it's hard to take seriously. The worst part was having to see Pelosi – she's just so divisive and annoying.

    Another thing Obama never seems to say is that perhaps such things as the Katrina disaster/cleanup and the formulation of Homeland Security, airport screenings, were quite costly to the nation and would have been NO MATTER WHO WAS IN OFFICE AT THE TIME!!! Really, think about it people....how much did just those 2 events cost us? How much did 9/11 cost us? Was it all Repubs fault that it happened on their 8 years? NO! So quit all the finger pointing and do some math before you speak. A little bit of credit needs to go back to realizing these weren't events brought on by Repubs, that could happen now and would you blame Obama for the cost of a hurricane??

    February 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. cmoore

    I learned America invented the automobile. ha ha ha ha.
    I think Mr Benz from Germany would beg to differ.

    February 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Mari

    @ MIKE......... THE NATIONAL DEBT DURING CLINTON WAS..... 5.7 TRILLION...... AND HE WAS PAYING IT DOWN. ITS HISTORY.... GOOGLE IT AND INFORM YOURSELF!

    When Clinton left Office he left Bush a RECORD BUDGET SURPLUS; A PROSPEROUS GROWING ECONOMY AND A NATION AT PEACE.

    BUSH .... DOUBLED THE NATIONAL DEBT..... ATTACKED IRAQ...... AND WE STILL DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH THAT WAR COST.... SINCE BUSH WAS ..... HIDING THE COST..... AND HE TORTURED..... DISMISSING THE U.S. CONSTITUTION HE TOOK AN .....OATH.... TO PROTECT AND DEFEND..... AND IGNORING THE GENEVA CONVENTION THE U.S.A. AUTHORED!

    YOU FAR-RIGHT PEOPLE LIKE TO COMPLAIN AND CRITICIZE, BUT YOU FORGET ABOUT YOUR OWN FAILURES!

    February 25, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Washington Insider

    So how much is this tax refund we are supposed to see in our paychecks on April 1? I read a lot of places that is about an extra $13 a week! Awesome, now I can go buy lunch with my extra $13 a week. Which equates to $52 a month, and then $624 a year.

    Sounds like we'll save the economy with my additional $624 a year in tax savings! Funny that seems kind of small compared to the over $800 billion bailout package.

    I am thinking I may have to vote Republican in 2012 if things don't turn around.

    February 25, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Joyce in Indiana

    The daily blather about the stock market being the true measure of President Obama's performance is tiring and silly.

    The stock market is notorious for rising and falling precipitously for no apparent reason. It could just as easily be because stockholders and traders didn't think the President's stimulus package went far enough as it could be that it was too expensive. Or it could be that somebody started a rumor that got traders riled up or that someone didn't wear his lucky necktie this morning.

    I realize that this complicates things for people who see things only in black and white, but that's the way the markets work. If you don't understand that, then you shouldn't be buying or selling stocks. And you certainly shouldn't attribute daily movements of the market to anything any one man says or doesn't say. Watch the long term.

    February 25, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Dan B

    President Obama's speech was what the nation needed. The problems our country faces require tough decisions and the President has shown the leadership necessary to make the tough decisions and be both honest and inspiring. The republican party is digging a great hole for themselves by searching for any political angle to combat the President. The American people are aware enough to recognize this and will send the message that we are tired of the divisive politics of the past regardless of how you dress it up. If you want to rebuild the republican party, stop the one-upmenship and recognize what the american people really want.

    February 25, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. cnnnewser

    People with any common sense at all should be optimistic at having a leader with the countrys best interest at heart.
    I think the past 8 years have made people bitter (yes, bitter!) and skeptical of everything.
    There will always be naysayers and flat out obstructionist, but the majority of people support President Obama.
    Our country should be very proud right now!

    February 25, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. kurtmo5

    The media is biased against Obama? What? I must have misinterpreted everything written in the past year. If the media wouldn't have covered everything up about this man he wouldn't be in office. I feel sorry for Ms. Clinton. This should have been her presidency.

    And to say that this man is going to lead us out of recession is rediculous. It takes much more than one man, it takes a nation of people to go out and spend money again.

    Could Nancy please stop acting like a 3rd grader at a New Kids on the Block concert.

    February 25, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. rena

    Bottom line, Mr. President tried to lay out his plan for the economy as best as he could without boring anyone. Quite naturally he counldn't give all the details, we would have been listening all night. Then you would have been complaining about how long winded he was; and I really couldn't understand what he was talking about. Why couldn't he have put it in simplier terms, well he did and you still complaining.

    So, I say Mr. President do your thing and don't worry about the wining republicans because you want please them anyway. Like you said they are mad and being pitty because they lost and can't have their way. It's not about who won, but it's about getting this country on line. But it is very obvious that none of those idiots in Washington can see that, because they are only thinking of themselves, how they look in the public eyes, and how it's going to affect them. You should be concerned with how you look to the American people, because as for this one see it, I see you all as a bunch of hypocritical, obtructionist junkies, lying theives, who wouldn't know the truth if it slapped you in the face.

    It sad someone as Mr. Obama is trying his best to work with a bunch of old farts who is so out of touch with the American people; and he is being condemned on every hand by that base.

    @ Typical white person- You are a lost soul. Yes, I watched Bush and he said nothing that inspired me or gave me hope. He took my husband and my kids father for months at a time, matter of fact on several rotations to fight a no nonsense war that he made up. Who would want to listen at him, you? Maybe cause you don't have a love putting their life on the line for a lie. I hope you lose everything you have and then I would like to see if you think the same. People and I'm talking about hard working people have lost their jobs and homes due to this idiot of a President, we just let walk out of the White House with millions in his pocket, while he left the American people with Trillions to pay. Maybe this is your way of living, but for us who believe in everyone living descently, it not our way.

    February 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Ray Fisher

    Does anyone ever notice how Wall Street retreats whenever they don't get a handout??? This morning is a typical example, the President in essence stated last night to stop whining and get to work rebuilding our economy and this morning Wall Street is replying negatively because it will require effort. These are the obstacles our President is facing Wall Street and Republicans!!!

    February 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Debby

    Pres. Obama gets an A+ for orating, an A+ for graciousness, and a D- for his stimulous plan. Its not going to work unless he cuts taxes for everyone and yes that includes the rich and corporate america. This is the only way the economy is going to bounce back and keep jobs in the US.

    Gov. Jindal gets an A+ for graciousness a D- for orating and an A+ for the Republican proposal to get of out of this economic mess.

    February 25, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. eunice c

    The Rep Party is mad and jealous because we have a President that tells the AMERICAN PEOPLE the TRUTH AND NOT LYING

    February 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Millie2640

    February 25th, 2009 10:56 am ET

    Regardless of whether you liked his speech or not, at least Pres. Obama is able to put a complete sentence together, unlike Bush. Let's face it, the republicans are going to be against whatever Pres. Obama says because they are playing to their base and can't make it sound like Pres. Obama is doing a good job. He hasn't even been in office for 100 days and and they complain more about what he has done so far than any of them complained about all the $$ Bush/Cheney were spending and giving away to Haliburton, Blackwater, etc., etc.
    ____________________________________________________

    Amen Mickie!! I couldn't have said it better myself.

    February 25, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. J

    From Al,

    February 25th, 2009 11:46 am ET

    I hope all the people complaining about the stimulus send their checks right back to Washington..

    ----------------------------–
    Al,
    I doubt I will be getting a stimulus check. You see what will most likely happen is that my money (I actually pay taxes) will be sent to you and people like you who believe they are entitled to other people's money. You can thank me by sending my money back to me.

    February 25, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Rick

    I'm not sure what Obama said because I couldn't take my eyes off of Nancy Pelosi who looked like she just escaped from a mental institution.

    February 25, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. ROC

    Jindal's hair scored with viewers too no?

    February 25, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. arithmetic is liberal

    Life must be very lonely for you, Sam Sixpack.
    Must be very quiet in that room with you and the other 3 self-appointed true Americans.

    February 25, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Marv

    Anybody that said the speech was not specific enought ,have you ever heard anyone that gives a speech like that with specifics. Nobody does that. Bush gave speeches that you could not even understand.The Republicans never come up with solutions. Just negative words. Give the man a chance for 10 years Rep tried things they didinot work. All this communist talk they said the same thing about Dr. King. Alot of our programs are socialistic in nature. Socila Security, Medicare, medicaid and so forth. Some of you people are haters and racist, join the party or get out of the way.

    February 25, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Debby

    The speech was good but the stimulous plan is awful. Jindal is not a good orator but the Republican ideas were good for the economy. Tax cuts for everyone yes even the rich and the corporate world will get people out there investing again. I feel sorry for the people who have worked 40 years at their job invested in their companies stock only to be worth pennies at retirement.

    Thank goodness we don't have to see jack in the box Nancy Pelosi at every speech. She was such a bad distraction for the President.

    February 25, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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