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. Allison

    I missed the speech, I was working late. But i did hear that Obama and his writers did very well.

    Did he mention that much of the housing bubble could have been avoided and a good portion of the deficit paid off if we were taxing the gains, the profits, on the sale of people's homes. When someone's home appreciated $200,000 in California or Florida and they sold it to move to Texas, Utah, New Mexico etc. they have cash to spend and that has driven up our home prices. The local builders made huge profits with those cash laden shoppers from housing bubble states and local buyers could not compete for those new homes. Now the market has crashed and the locals who did not profit from the bubble will pay for those mistakes with increased taxes.

    Taxing the Profit on the sale of a home should at least contribute to paying for this bailout and deficit spending!

    February 25, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. geraldine

    Yes yes – we know. everyone loves barack obama and he gave a smooth speech. Why not report "news"?

    The more interesting point, lost in meat of the article, is that both Clinton and Bush scored about as well in their initial addresses. Why isn't that the headline? That wouldn't fit the broader storyline (i.e., "the messiah will save us all"), now would it?

    February 25, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. Obamacrat

    I loved when he talked about the banker that gave away 60 million and the school girl from South Carolina. The story about the leaking roof in the 110 year old South Carolina school makes people like SC Governor Sanford look even more ridiculous for talking about refusing some of the stim money.

    February 25, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Economics 101

    LOL
    You mean those viewers with no money and collecting welfare checks from the top 2%

    February 25, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. LIP

    Obama is a great motivational speaker. He did a really incredible job of putting all the right elements into his presentation. Delivering on promises is always the problem though and time will tell. My only disappointment is his sincerity when saying he wants to work across the isle with Republicans and extends his hand, but then at the last minute uses it to slap them with the tired and old, same as usual, blame for the state of the economy. This said while one of the architects of the failed economy sits directly behind him. Remember that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid ran the show during Bush's last two years and Congresses ratings were historically at their lowest during those two years.

    February 25, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. lovable liberal

    Why say that Duhbya got "virtually the same amount of support"? Why not a precise number? With that detail, we could have a fuller understanding of the story.

    February 25, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. will

    We are doomed....

    February 25, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Franky

    Well, well...what do we have here? While everybody was watching the speech, everybody was partying!! I knew it was my day yesterday, why?? Because I was singing that gay song from Erasure(and Abba) called, "O'lamour." And guess what happen?? Met me a Swedish girl!! LOL!!! It works all the time and every time, she had a boyfriend but didn't see no ring, is all good...

    "Broke my heart...now I'm aching for you...
    O'h Lamour...
    What's a boy in love supposed to do..."

    I love this country...

    February 25, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Bill,ca

    Evil minded republicans. GO OBAMA !

    February 25, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. gt

    the pres look good but looking at pelosi made me sick

    February 25, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Fuzzy Maine Coon & The Sherpa Mr. Mittens

    I thought the President’s speech was good – a bit light on actual details but I hope that an even more detailed explanation of his economic agenda will be forthcoming as well.

    Bobby Jindal gave a fair rebuttal – even if, admittedly, I wasn’t anticipating his remarks as much as I was the President’s address.

    Political parties aren’t as important to me as my money is – the lawmakers who let me keep more of my clams get my support. Everyone likes money.

    February 25, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Scott, Tucson

    Too bad he didn't score with the investors and Wall Street as it looks like the DOW is crashing again. Down 154.76 as of 09:30

    Any takers it will go under 7000 today?

    February 25, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Todd

    Guess not all of the country agreed. The great, positive speech last night causes the Dow to plummett? What would have happened if he had been honest, or God-forbid, negative?

    February 25, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Chris - Denver

    Thank goodness the grown-ups are in charge again. I just hope it came in time.

    February 25, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. geecee

    This man knows how to speak to the American public. He is indeed an orator and comes across coherently and succinctly. I could listen to him all night long. Obviously, I am a fan!

    February 25, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. ran

    It was a good speech. Maybe the Republicans will do what is right for the country and help him make the plan work; but I would not hold my breath because I still do not see the Republicans being concerned with the people. I just do not understand how they can continue to be obstructionist especially given the mess we are in.

    February 25, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Mike in Houston

    It was a good speech, but like all of his speeches when one begins to analyze what the policy entails one finds that it becomes unworkable.

    Also, if you really listen, it is full of double-speak and easy outs to claim that he did something that he really didn't do at all.

    Unfortunately, none in the press and the majority of voters will continue to unquestionably accept anything from Obama.

    February 25, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. texas teacher

    I, like so many Americans, was so particularly moved at how much our President has a plan of action for the whole country. I think he left little for the GOP to complain about unless, of course, they want to appear totally unAmerican and in complete support of the old Bush agenda (which they are, of course).

    It was interesting to watch the Repubs squirm as they were forced repeatedly to at least to grudgingly agree with President Obama's plan to bring up the average American EVEN at the expense of the extremely wealthy! That surely goes against every Republican general agenda for the nation in their infamous "Trickle Down Economics" which has so aptly gotten us where we are! And yet, it is the only plan they have!

    I simply do hope that they DO NOT have the gall to fight our President every step of the way.... which I am sure that they do. They have no SHAME that is for sure. And they are so sure that we have forgotten that they are responsible for the mess we are in! :(

    February 25, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. Otto

    Wake up America; we have been in dream land for a long time. The pundits, cynics and unbelievers can say anything but we will move forward. We will over come and we will be a stronger nation.

    This President is wiser than his years; he is blessed with wisdom and insight. He knows what it is to live among people who have nothing and to rise above that nothingness.

    By his deeds shall he be judged? By his work shall he be remembered? God bless him! There is a saying; Who God blesses no man curse!

    I can only ask that he remember where he came from. He should do the things that comes from his heart and by doing so; he will change the course of history.

    February 25, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. No Vaseline

    An ambitious President. Wow, I almost forgot those existed! G-d bless President Obama and G-d bless the USA

    February 25, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. ONOSHE

    THAT WAS A GOOD SPEECH ! GREAT PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    February 25, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Film Professor

    And is Bobby Jindal not ready for prime time, or what?

    His speech was disastrous - he was uncomfortable, he was obviously reading the TelePrompter, and he came off as completely insincere and unsophisticated - all that for someone who had the prior buildup of being the GOP's new "star".

    Whew. Awful.

    February 25, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Felly

    A brilliant and charismatic President. This is what I'm talking about– a change we can believe in. A government of the people, by the people and for the people.

    February 25, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. ANGIE-OH

    Yes we will recover. President Obama is going to lead the country to recovery. It will take time. the repubs had 8 years to destroy the country. congress rubber stamped any and everything he wanted for 6 years.

    February 25, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Axl in Iowa

    Talk,Talk,Talk,Talk,Talk.

    February 25, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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