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. John

    The polls suggest that Americans want congress to get behind President Obama's ideas.

    Polls have shown that overwhelming number of Americans are angry at republicans for their stubborn clinging to their trickle down economy and want them to support the President.

    Given the stubborn obstructionism of the republican party toward any change in the economic structure of our country, we need to hold them responsible and vote them out when the time comes.

    February 25, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Ron L

    It was a well done , well presented speech. Once again President Obama proved he is an American FIRST, a Democrat Second. I would not be surprised in the next 3 months he has some really deep philosophical disagreements with members of the Democratic Party who want to keep it business as usual. He has no interest in keeping the bad habits that have developed over the years in place. This WILL be a transformational time for politics in America!!! People need to remember in that this President we have a person who has actually spent REAL TIME with Americans that have suffered economically and realizes that smart targeted help is essential if we want to better the nation as a whole. The Republicans don't get it. And IF they continue the same rhetoric I heard in the last 3 days they are going to shrink so small they will be like a mesquito on the back of an elephant (the democratic Party).

    February 25, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. J.Marie

    The speeched perhaps lacked details, but overall made me feel proud and hopeful. The GOP response by Jindal seemed awkward and inappropriate.

    February 25, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Rob

    I think Pelosi needs to see a doctor as soon as possible. She was suffering from either restless leg syndrome or a really bad case of 'roids, because she could barely sit down.

    Really the only thing she needed was a group of horns to honk and for Biden to throw her a fish when she did her tricks. Trained seals could learn a lot by watching her last night.

    February 25, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Stimulus Bill to Nowhere

    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.

    February 25, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. digger

    And by the way, that speech didn't score anything with me at all.

    February 25, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Mark

    He lie'd on everything he campaigned on but a few rallys and the sheep will get excited again..

    February 25, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. Liz

    President Obama proved he gets that he works for me. It's nice to have a president that's smart, articulate and compassionate. Jindal on the other hand–what was he talking about? Did he even listen to President Obama's speech??? The party of NO better get a clue–and fast.

    February 25, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  9. katiec

    President Obama's speech was great. He expressed the seriousness of the problems that we are facing, but yet, offered
    hope for our future.
    Our President has been saddled with diasters never before faced
    by a leader. He has a hard road ahead, but with his integrity,
    sincerity, intelligence and desire for our survival he will succeed.
    In spite of obstruction by the party that handed him this mess.

    February 25, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. John, Brooklyn, New York

    I think the best moment was when Mr. Obama expanded on the message from the little girl from South Carolina....

    "We aren't quitters."

    I was inspired to think that, despite terrible economic problems, we aren't a nation that will give up our values of democracy, civil liberties, and hope for a better future without a fight.

    February 25, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Sue M

    Boy this Gov. Booby Jindal is the Republicans up and coming STAR ??????
    No way do these Republcians understand the problems that face this country, no way do they understand the pain and suffering the people in this country are going through, this man has the personality of a wet noodle......sorry but I don't see him as the answer to their problems.....

    February 25, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. Judy

    I think President Obama did a great job in telling the people that we can and we will recover from this downfall in the economy.

    February 25, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Ed From Wisconsin

    Hands down Obama gave the best Union Address of my life time, and given the circumstances of our crippled economy, he seemed to be honest with the American people about the current financial situation. Obama showed confidence in his speech and it was well received by the majority of the American public. I sure hope that the Republicans can put down their petty disagreements, and jump on board and stop being the problem and starting coming up with solutions that don’t take us back to the last 8 years of misery and failure.

    God Bless America!

    February 25, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. april

    I was counting and 90% of his speech was talk about the past. He is just making it clearer everytime he speaks that the emperor has no clothes, no plan, no understanding of the situation, and no empathy for those hurt by it. His flip remarks and sarcasm with a smile, do nothing to instill confidence nor do they seem appropriate considering the dire predictions for our future. He is stuck on the campaign trail, it's like twilight zone, or groundhog day, he says the same things over and over, it's getting scary–when will we get a leader instead of an orator. The faces Pelosi was making behind him the whole time were really school girlish as well.

    February 25, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Noah

    Well it did not score enough. The stock market is already down the 200 points it gained yesterday. Everytime Obama talks, the market drops over fears of bank nationalization, tax increases on businesses, and on and on. His speech was solid, I will give him that, but it lacked any specifics that the market needs to hear in order to react positively.

    February 25, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Mississippi Mike

    Funny how the liberal press plays everything to the advantage of Obama. Investors think it stinks, just look at the stocks this morning. As has been stated many times, YOU DUMMYCRATS BETTER GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A__ES AND GET CONTROL OF THIS IDIOT. Socialism is not a pretty thing. By the way, was Pelosi on crack last night.

    February 25, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Cynthia - Arkansas

    It was so wonderful to see a true leader at that podium. I am so proud of him!

    February 25, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Andy J, Upstate NY

    oh more rave reviews for Obama from CNN and a CNN poll?

    i would have never thought

    obviously, the markets loved what Obama had to say.

    the problem is that we are trying to prop up a system of spending more than we make. sure, get credit flowing again so we can go right back to spending more than we make.


    February 25, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Sharon

    Home Run, 3 Pointer, Touchdown!!!!!

    February 25, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Mickie

    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.

    February 25, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Well our President did excellent: Jindal on the other hand – Wow! I didn't understand a darn thing he was saying. He kept relating everything back to Katrina and we all know how that turn out. Hey Jindal: News Release, the people of Louisana are still displaced and we are struggling, so take the money for the state and put politics aside.

    February 25, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. jones,ralph

    i think as a americans we need to give these measures a chance to work. we didn't get here over night nor will it get fixed over night. i think we are headed in the right direction. the greedy people that got us here. they taken avantage of people that didn't understand what they were getting in to. they signed up thinking they were getting the deal of a life time only they didn't know the guy they were working with was trying to make his bonus. so he sold the houses,cars,stocks and goods telling them that its was a good deal. but what he didn't tell them that they were getting was rip off bye over pricing in interest an fees. just look at the gas an oil we were payiing just a few months a go almost 6.00 dollars a gallon for gas and for what ? it was brung out that we had penty of gas . we the american people are tired of gettiing the short end of the stick. the persons making less than 250 thousand dollars a year. they are the ones sacficing the most every day they try to send there kids to collegean to service to protect this country every day. they do the labor no one else wants to do. people that makes 250k who that think they are to good to do it. roll up there sleves an get dirty. to help someone else than there selves. we need to come together as a nation yes to make profit but not gouge the people. so every body can enjoy this america not just a few! have great vacation,go fishing, hunting,....enjoy life not work day after day just to get by make your payments that someone just gouged you on an made there bounus!

    February 25, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. charlie in Maine

    Man this guy can turn a phrase. But even better than that is the Obama paradox. I like the Obama paradox because it is good for the country and because it drives Obamaphobes absolutely crazy. He puts the people of the United States first. By making it all about us and serving us and making politics second he is succeeding politically. Take heart though conservatives, this is something he learned from Ronald Reagan.

    February 25, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Finch in CA

    Of course it scored well. If you offer people free health care, free education, free cash, etc. they are going to like you. If you fail to deliver on all of these things, you're toast.

    February 25, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Rob Johnson

    Of course it did. What's not to like? Heck, he even got a couple of standing ovations from the House Republicans, which I didn't expect.

    Even Bobby Jindal said this morning on the Today show that Obama is a "good, decent, honest man." Anybody who thinks otherwise is just blinded by bigotry or party loyalty.

    February 25, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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