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. Sharon White

    I was Very disappointed when President OBama looked the American public in the eye last night, and said how proud he was that he passed a bill with no ear marks !!! And with Pelosi looking over his shoulder so proudly. The American public IS Not Stupid. At Least I hope they didn't believe this bull. With over 9000 and 5 BILLION in earmarks found so far, what else would you call it, if not ear marks. With Pelosi studying mice and tattoos being removed, Pelosi is taking care of HER Interests at any rate, to heck with the main street citizens paying her salary. This is an outrage !!!! Come on people, wake up and be angry at congress for this bull that we are paying for!!!!!

    February 25, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Biff

    The banker Obama recognized is extraordinary. Giving 60M away is a very gererous thing.

    Obama likes it so much because now he can tax the 60M twice. Once on the banker then once on the 471 people he gave it to. These people are not a qualified charitable organization so the IRS better make sure all of them pay up.

    February 25, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Ronnie Patrick

    I know within my soul that this President is going to make things right. I do realize that it will not happen over night however it will happen. I have never felt like I do today about the economy and I know that those that has been effected by these terible times will get help and that God is in the plans and that we as a people need to get on our knees and pray, pray, pray for this most anointed by God this wonderful man who is not perfect but is perfect for us. I give not just high marks but I give high, high marks for a man who shoots straight from the hip with no shame in telling it just like it is we will over come and we are stronger than we think for we are Americans. I have never heard any President speak like this strong young smart, centered, grounded, God fearing man ever in my lifetime before. I throught Reagan was great,Clinton was great but this greater. I pray for you our President , your family and the American people. Lets not pay any attention to nay sayers for that is just what they are out of touch with the real world. No jobs, lost of homes, insurance, and most of all lost of retirement incomes. Remember if you did or did not vote for our President as I did he is still your President and whatever you do in life you will need your President. Our President is the most powerful man in the world and it is because of God that he is where he is and God will prevail trust me we are going to be okay. It was God who placed him there and it is God who will keep him there blessing him so that we might recieve the same. God bless the United States of America.

    February 25, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. MICK in MESA

    Great speech but my comments are about that GOP geek Jindal.
    He said that government is not the answer. I agree if that goverment is run by repugs – Just look what Dubya and his crowd did in the last 8 years.
    The topper was Jindal's proven formula for economic disaster – More tax cuts for the rich and no benefits for the unemployed. Nice thinking there Gov. Where did you find that plan, from a second grader?
    Bottom line, Jindal is a closed minded, Taliban-like (see castration) "small ball" playing obstructionist who should stay in LA.
    If the RNC promotes this guy as "the future of the GOP" the dems don't have a worry come the next election cycle...

    February 25, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. my

    It was heart warming speech. He does care. He is modest. He is firm. He is fair. He is nice. He is smart. He is growing up to better. His speech gave me warm secure feeling.

    February 25, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Erik from Real Pennsylvania

    I do not agree with President Obama's economic policies, but having a President I can respect after eight years of one Gilligan moment after another is worth a lot to me.

    February 25, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Ronnie Patrick

    Excellent speech last night for our adorable President. I give him an A+ and higher if there were numbers to express such.

    February 25, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. No fool

    After watching the presidential address, I overheard some referring to him as the confidence man.

    That is a good thing right?

    February 25, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Maggie B

    President Obama certainly has a daunting task ahead of him, especially with the American economy and financial system tanking. However, his speech last night remained consistent with his campaign. He remained true to his original message of hope and change.

    While the Republicans have decided to engage in 'politics as usual' President Obama needs to keep the American public involved or informed through this process.

    February 25, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Terry

    Conservatives would rather rule a bankrupt nation than help govern a prosperous one. They are not opposing Obama out of principle but as a political strategy, to position themselves for the 2012 elections.

    February 25, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Barbara Campbell

    Republicans bought-and-paid-for by special interests made clear their agenda last night when they refused to applaud during sections of President Obama's speech. Of particular interest was the neocons response to remarks about renewable energy and independence from foreign oil. Exxon's presence was apparent.

    February 25, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. katiec

    Here we go again, awaiting moderation.
    CNN. do wish you would stop your censorship and allow
    freedom of speech!

    February 25, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Chris Smith

    I applaud the president for giving a great overview of the current state of the economy and for stating very clearly that we need to respond quickly to the problems. I appreciated the fact that he also said we need to make some sacrifices in order to turn things around. I was especially glad to hear him say that we need improvements in education. Schools need more funds and talented, effective teachers in order to improve. We "say" we value education in this country, but our behaviors contradict that. Our country seems to value celebrities and sports figures more than they value teachers and what is happening in the schools. If we truly valued education in this country we would see parents more actively involved in their children's education (the president made an important point about parents being more involved during the formative years); we might even see big corporations throwing money at schools instead of professional sports teams and stadiums.

    The president used the term accountability several times. It is about time. Banks that receive bail out funds should be accountable for every dollar spent. Many CEO's need to practice "sacrificing." Stop the lavish trips, huge bonuses and entitlement mentality.

    President Obama presented his message in an assertive manner. He gave us hope and provided a plan. Thank you, Mr. President.

    February 25, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. the idiot

    Good campaign speech. Unfortunately, this is not a campaign, it is reality. Not specific. Did Nancy Pelosi have a spring loaded seat?

    February 25, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Kim

    Did you hear jindal,voice Over> Americans can do anything.......voice over>the militaly can do anything......voice over>louisiana can do anything......

    Let me say this,

    Jindal why don't you remain in New orleans and be Louisiana President!

    February 25, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Linda from Minnesota

    I am so proud of our president.

    February 25, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. New Day

    Did Jindal just kill his career last night?

    February 25, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Sammy

    Gee Baze, way to carry forth that new tone BO encourages in people. Why not stop the name-calling and go out and do something to help, seeing that you're so inspired and all?

    February 25, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    At least he is trying to tell us what is going on given that most of us don't understand the credit market. It sounds to me that he is trying to be honest and open as to what the plan is.

    February 25, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. Maggie

    President Obama is the exact opposite of the previous president who gave State of the Union addresses and semi-State of the Union addresses.

    He wasn't insulting.
    He wasn't condescending.
    He wasn't boring.
    He didn't use those buzzwords some speech writer thought were good ideas when all they did was make Bush sound more like an idiot.

    The president gave us a great speech to let us know what's going on. Can you imagine that? The government actually telling us, the people who voted them in, what they're doing since they're answerable to us? That's another pleasant change.

    Obama is trying to make a difference with a partisan congress who won't get past their petty little parties and do what needs to be done to get this country financially sound again. He has an uphill battle the likes of which even Sisyphus would be terrified of.

    February 25, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Harry

    First, I want to congratulate our 44th President on a speech well done and I love how he include ordinary people. He just a person like us that have made it and won't change for the people who REALLY struggle to do right and get right, be obstacles are in the way and he is trying to remove those obstacles along with asking EVERY INDIVIDUAL to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY for their Country and where they are in life. Second, all you who keep downing his agenda, it is going to be just like the election "A LAND SLIDE" he is going to turn the USA around in your face and you will be in AWE once again. Just keep posting, like you did during the election, saying HE WAS NOT GOING TO WIN etc., and get the chit shocked out of your azzes...I AM SO PROUD OF OUR 44TH PRESIDENT.

    Proud to be American again!

    February 25, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Doug

    If you watched the speech you saw a lot more than this reports. The members of congress need to be replaced, both parties, both genders especially the ones who have been there since the 1970's.
    Preaching to our house of lords and ladies, they were way too comfortable while we squirm trying to pay bills.

    February 25, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Bestcountryonearth

    Last night's speech that Obama gave was without a doubt a grand slam. It shows that he really cares about the American people and truly wants to help us get back on track again.

    February 25, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. JK Ashburn, VA

    Talk is cheap. We already know he's an entertaining speaker. This is not about a campaign, this is about leadership and governance. He threw out a litany of stuff last night, but has no clue whether any of it will work, even if the Democraps in Congresss don't play political games with it (fat chance). And, of course, all of those viewers who watched it who have already drunk the Obama Kool-Aid thought it was the Third Coming. Promise anything free and they buy it - lock, stock, and barrel.

    The reality remains that the Dow is down over 20% since these clowns took office and unemployment is rising. Taxes are going up on real taxpayers. Deficits are out of control and he only promises more spending and no individual responsibility.

    Maybe for his state of the Union address, Rodgers and Hammerstein can set it to music and it can be an even more entertaining fantasy.

    February 25, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. HarryinLA

    He is writing checks this country can not cash. Everyone loves his promises let us see him deliver.

    February 25, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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