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. Big Ed

    A terrific speech. Done with class, clarity, reassurance and confidence. I think he is doing what needs to be done. it may not be easy but at least it is a plan. Until he gives me reason otherwise, he has my confidence and support.

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


    February 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Linda in MS

    Great speech. For all of the dittoheads who didn't watch it, but rely on Rush to interpret and tell them what to think, go to hell. We're going to make it work with or without you because we care more about this country than we do about winning elections.

    February 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. JL

    It's refreshing to have a president that is easy to listen to, rather than one that is painful to watch.

    I hope he can accomplish everything he talked about. I'm pretty impressed at his progress so far, so I wouldn't put it past him.

    Now, if he can only convince CNN that the election is over and he won so they stop getting McCain's take on every little thing.

    February 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Tulsa L

    Sure Republcans didn't watch, they aren't concerned about the economy because this recession hasn't hurt them yet, it's mostly the poor and middle class that are suffering, as we know the Republicans are of the upper class, rich and they don't give two hoots about the country or the rest of us they only care about their Party (GOP) and as for their Gov. Bobby Jindal, boy they call this their up and coming? They don't have a clue as to how to reach out to this country or the people, all they know is tax breaks (that's what makes them rich) less government, well right now after what their last President did to this country it's going to take a bit more Government to get us out of this, because it was Bush and his Governing that got us into this mess.

    February 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Bob in Pa

    Yeah, it was one heck of a speech. He promised everything to everybody. I still want to know how he can bring jobs back from overseas, promote "Buy American", and still guard against protectionism.

    February 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Steviemo in MN

    The first sentence in this post is very misleading and is contridicted by the rest of the article.

    "...two-thirds of those who watched President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress reacted favorably "

    According to my math, 92% (68% very positive + 24% somewhat positive) is way more than two-thirds!

    Do you really mean to imply that that those who had a "somewhat positive" reaction did not react favorably?

    Please correct the the first sentence to read 92% of those who watch reacted favorably.

    February 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Typical White Person

    How many times will we have to listen to him whine about the deficit he "inherited"? Congress has been controlled by Democrats for long enough to have cut the deficit if they had the answers. Didn't Obama belong to that august body?

    February 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Big Ed

    A terrific speech. It was presented with class, clarity, reassurance and confidence. the road to recovery won't be easy, but until he gives me a reason to think otherwise, President Obama has my confidence and support.

    February 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Independent

    I was very, very impressed with President Obama's speech....he is in there and trying and he will make it all work out...I have a lot of faith in him that it will happen...

    Note: I watched Gov. of LA....now, if he is the rising star of the Repbulican party, God help us....Why do they keep bringing up the train from Disney to Las Vegas??? There are plans for the Midwest and other parts of the Country....the train to Las Vegas hasn't gotten the go ahead....it may go to the Midwest.....He better take care of his people in LA...I'm sure when he comes up for re-election, he won't win or he will have a very hard time....Only thinking of the Republican party and not his people...what a shame....

    February 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. bill

    We united after Pearl Harbor. It was an attitude of winning. Now, at a time that this country is in worse shape than when WWII started to hear the republican party trying to pull our country even deeper into a depression has to stop. For once, understand that the bush admin. got us into this mess and we have to get out as fast as possible–without trying to be elected, or the next voice of a party. IT IS TIME TO SUCK IT UP AND GO TO WORK TO UNITE A ONCE GREAT COUNTRY THAT OUR WASHINGTON DC REPS HAVE DESTROYED WORSE THAN 911 OR PEARL HARBOR WITH THEIR GREED AND SELF SERVING ATTITUDES. signed ex republican/vet/businessman/small town/white Christian. I am sad for the deception and destructive attitudes of what used to be Lincoln's party.

    February 25, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. James

    I personally thought it left the NO Republicans without any ammo to fire back at Obama. They are becoming less and less relevant as the days go by. All they have is tax breaks and cut spending . ---Why should we trust them now????

    February 25, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. MN Voter

    We are so lucky to have such a great leader as a President! He is moving forward quickly to do what is necessary to help our country survive this downturn and he is providing a lot of communication with the American people.

    February 25, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. hateYT

    I couldn't concentrate with that nut job pelosi jumping around like a 5 year old all freakin night....she's certifiable.

    But i did notice how well BO speaks out of both sides of his purple lips.

    February 25, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Sniffit

    [Insert psychotic GOP denial here]

    February 25, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Pat - Overland Park, KS

    President Obama's speech was great and I really believe going thru the budget line by line and cutting programs that do not work is a great thing and should have been done long ago.

    What puzzles me is that while all this great big government spending was going on when Mr. Bush was in the white house where were the Republicans then? I also bet the Gov. Jindel will take whatever stimulus money is divided up for Louisiana. If he thinks the plan is so bad, he'd better not take any of the money alloucated for his state. Again where was he when government and spending blew up while his party was in office.

    Remember President Obama inherited this problem. We had a surplus when Bush took office. I think a great many people including the Republicans forget that.

    February 25, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. William A. Schaedler from St. Louis

    Will this guy ever stop campaigning? Any intelligent person knows that his ideas will never work. Before long that tooth-filled smile and those big ears will; become worn out to look at.

    February 25, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. Bob in Pa

    I'm not quite sure, but I think Pelosi was blinking S.O.S. repeatedly through the speech. They should really avoid placing her on camera, she is going to cause someone to have a seizure sometime.

    February 25, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. obama-mama

    One fantastic speech. Made me want to go out and do something productive. Hopefully one day the republicans will grow up and realize when folks work together you can get so much more accomplished. It was interesting to watch the republicans throught our President's speech, namely Boehner and McCain. Boehner looked like some big dumb stooge and McCain looked very uneasy. That's what happens where you're not living right. They need to get over McCain's loss and work with our president.

    February 25, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. worriedmom

    He has the silver tongue but I tend to read between the lines. i want things to succeed however I am realist and I think he is just tackling too much all at once. I still am upset that even though he states that the housing loans will only go to those who were responsible and circumstances hurt them, all his other committee members say we will still help those who knew better! I was hoping he would give ALL people across the board a 4% interest rate to help buy and own homes and refinance. As far as Iraq, I think it is great however he should have said he will get our troops out of Iraq but he is transferring them to Afghanastan which is going to be more vicious and critical to the safety of our Brave Men and Women!

    February 25, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. Lots of Change

    He's a brilliant speaker. However, his message sucks. He isn't taking any responsibility for the mess which the DEMOCRATIC CONTROLLED CONGRESS helped create. He's blaming it on everyone else. I don't want my medical care trusted to the hands of the government which panders to lobbies and special interests. I don't want my bank run by the United Socialist States of America. That's where this is heading. I don't want to live in France. I live in the US. Time to take back the country and get rid of the Socialist ideas.

    February 25, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |

    I think President Obama gave a great speech to the American people last night. I notice how the republican kept their seats and applauded little if any part of the speech.

    I have a major problem with the republicans… it is this type of republican thinking that has this country in its current situation. If those who call them selves true Americans cannot see what they are doing, then you are truly blind. Republicans only care about one thing and that is them selves. The fact that the republican governors would rather let people STARVE just so they can be right is something I will never understand.

    I have only one thing to say to the republican voters who are not wealthy... republican leaders DO NOT care about you! ... Moreover, to be frank, they do not care if you have a place to sleep or anything to eat.


    February 25, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. digger

    I wonder what kind of drugs Nancy Pelosi was on last night. Jumping up and down like she was sitting on tacks. And that dumb grin on her face. You could see it in her eyes, she was on something. It was really funny seeing the old broad jumping around.

    February 25, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. jotan

    President Obama. You continued to "Inspire Me"! I "KNOW" I voted for the RIGHT ONE!

    February 25, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. J

    It was a good speech and he is a good speaker. The problem is the speech had no substance. Ocama was elected as a populous president. All the voters I see walking around town (Houston) with Obama t-shirts don't have a clue how our government or our financial system works. Investors on the other hand do understand the specifics and as we speek the Dow is down another 150 points. Obama is a great speaker but just like Pelosi he does not know what he is doing.

    February 25, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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