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. Dr. George Halaby

    President Obama is serious about bringing "Change" to Washington. His economic address to Congress brings a new approach and committment to a sweeping change against wasteful practices in the public and private sectors.

    February 25, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. matt

    It was an excellent speech about a horrible idea. This stimulus won't work in the long run and they know it. Government makes no profit, it sells no items it gains money through taxes and fines. That means the only way it makes money is off the people it governs. Its like your parents paying you to do chores and expecting that to raise your families overall wealth. All you've done is moved money around, and not created any more wealth. In order for the family to make more money it has to get money from outside, by producing or selling services to other families. In other words we have to MANUFACTURE something and sell it to other countries or provide services for other countries. A economy must have income or be closed, but if it leaks it will go broke, that's what ours is doing. Period.

    February 25, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. colleen

    I think Obama is proving himself a real leader. Was anyone else entertained by the facial expressions of our congress and senate in the audience ?

    February 25, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Lynn

    @Finch in CA

    I didn't hear anything about FREE education, health care or money in President Obama's address.

    No more polls!!! The election took place 11/4/2008. Mainstream media is not doing its job to objectively inform. You need to come up with a better plan to maintain or recapture campaign level viewership.

    February 25, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Obama Victim

    apparently "viewers" liked the speech more than Wall Street......down 150 today,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    February 25, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Pat

    President Obama did an exceptional job when talking to the people of the United States. He did not need to outlined every little detail. There will be a time when we, as Americans, will see just how effective his plan is. I know, President Obama will make it work with the help of all of us. We can help bring the United States back and better in the eye sight of the world. The Republicans don't want to admit that President Obama have a good plan outlined to help the economy. They can continue to criticize him, but in the end he will persevere.


    February 25, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Memo to all News Commentators including FOX, CNN, NBC, MSNBC: For the past 8 years the American public has been told what to think. We have been lied to, blindsighted, and made to feel paranoid and fearful. It is no wonder that a man such as President Obama has hit a nerve with so many. Where was the outrage when our previous President systematically took this country, it's people and ecomony, down the slippery slope? As long as all of you collected your inflated salaries, who cared about the "middle class"? Where was the in-dept analysis of the Bush Admistration? The uncovered corruption? The greed of investors and Wall Street lobbyists? Now, when YOUR paychecks are targeted, the table has turned. I say "good riddance" to all of you. Many of us "regular" viewers are finally thinking for ourselves, and in doing so, aren't liking what we have begun to understand was, simply put, "status quo". Don't tell me what I want to know. For the most part, you all are DEAD wrong. I don't care about the nitty gritty 3 step program. I care about RESULTS. I don't have a 6 figure salary to worry about over tax increases or investment loses. I support President Obama because for once in a very, very long time, greed ISN'T the status quo. It's very refreshing. It's also very humorous to watch each of you (and Congress) scramble to the political pundits as if they are your life line. This country is swimming in a cesspool of greed and corruption. We can continue to tread water or break away and head for safety. It's not a polical game of "me first" anymore. It's reality. I, for one, choose safety.

    February 25, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Kirsten

    exceot that what most people fail to realize is that he purposefully glossed over facts so that he can continue his happy, care-free speeches. Except that he needs to realize that Americans wont respond well when they find out whats really happening to this country. You can't stop the truth from coming out when you continue to lie on national television.

    February 25, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. Ignorance

    Finch in CA – Are you concerned that we are giving the Middle Eastern countries, Israel, Africa and Europe free health care, education, & cash? Didn't think so!

    Look at the billions that we send to other countries. Where is the outrage?

    Republicans just approved the same amount of funding to Wall Street and did that help or create jobs? Where is the outrage?

    February 25, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Lori

    President Obama did an amazing speech that restored hope in Americans, unlike the last President. He inspires Americans to do better for themselves and fellow Americans and I am so proud of this country for voting him in. I hope we will vote the Republicans out next year.

    As for Jindal. You know the Republcans are pathetic when their spokespersons are Jindal, Palin and Limbaugh. I'm loving this.

    February 25, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Dan, TX

    Very good heads up on what's coming through for legislation. We will look forward to watching the debates and details of the bills congress writes to carry out the presidents agenda. Good job Mr. President!

    February 25, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Allen

    nm mom,

    Your blanket criticisms about Republicans are not productive and inaccurate. Republicans are as varied and diverse as Democrats, which is why you have both pro-life and pro-choice Republicans. Wise up and stop pointing the finger at one party. The Federal government in general has problems and they are driven by members of both parties. We can't move forward if you continue to rely on generalizations and unfounded biases. How about exhibiting some of that "change we need?"

    February 25, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. Jick

    Whether you liked the speach or not the stock market reaction is the true barometer. The needle is pegged at F

    February 25, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Bridgette-PA

    I agree with "Obama Supporter". CNN has a bad habit of "guestimating" poll number specifics. Why? Leave it alone and let the numbers stand where they are without you guessing why.

    February 25, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. kelly WI

    Might have been a good delivery but the substance wasn't.
    Look at the markets today after being told more debt and deficits being planned. Yes, we will be equal. Equaly miserable. Don't plan on retiring. You'll be working until you drop dead because you won't have any retirment funds and you will have to pay this stuff off.

    February 25, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Ignorance

    McCain where is Osama??? He said during the presidential race that he knows where he is and how to catch him. Should we arrest him for aiding and abiding or treason?

    I guess he was just lying again. Basic republican.

    February 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. TheTruthHurts

    We already know everything he said. We know what needs to be fixed and we know what's broken. Those of us with clear vision know we'll get out of this, but it won't be tomorrow.

    I'm glad that we have a presidient that can state the obvious given our last one could not and missed things that were staring him in the face.

    How can healthcare rise at 20% annually with wages rising at 2% and some idiot think that is sustainable?

    We're not that stupid!

    February 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Sniffit

    @ still hoping

    ...until his re-election...

    February 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Mike

    Well Bill from Pa....

    Yes you are incorrect....as most people on these boards sre.

    The gross national Debt in 2000 (es when your other Messiah Bill Clinton was President) was over 7 trillion dollars....as of February 13, 2009 it wa 10.1 trillion dollars. Yes, Bush increased the debt during a time of national emergency....but Obama has added over 1.2 trillion in just one month.

    Just to give you the real numbers.

    February 25, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Typical White Person

    @ Obama supporter who asked:

    why do you say most of the people who watched the speech were democrats? 8 to 10 points how do you know that?
    Because they asked as part of the survey. First off, you had to have watched the speech to qualify for the other questions and then they asked those that DID watch the speech their affiliation. More Democrats watched their messiah speak than non-Democrats. And this surprises you? Would you have watched Bush speak?

    February 25, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. sensible Cape Coral L

    We bomb the hell out of Iraq then pay Halliburton to rebuild it with OUR MONEY Time for some accountability.

    February 25, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. kelly WI

    Obama spent more money last week than all the stuff of the last 8 years put together. Don't confuse deficits with debts.

    February 25, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. MT

    I think it was an excellent speech. A lot of hope and attention to the middle class. His comment related to using corporate jets..."those days are over"....he outta look right over his left shoulder and start with Ms. Speaker. That's a good start. She flies from Washington to California (her home) every week...on a 747 because she doesn't like to stop to re-fuel! Amazing, isn't it?

    February 25, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. R Wolf

    I can't believe that after Bush, you people would criticize anyone. Bush put this Country into a horrible position in so many ways, and now, finally, we have an intelligent, honest, open and elegant man with all American's interests at heart and you just can't seem to stomach that. Tell me, do you have so much that you can't benefit from the policies of this new Administration? Are you so selfish
    that you can't have compassion for those who have never been able
    to share in the American dream under a Republican administration?
    Give our new President a chance and stop your whinning. We had
    to suffer through eight years of a moron making decisions for us. Now
    let's try it with someone who knows what they are doing. I, for one,
    join millions of other Americans in embracing this man, his administration and his ideas. Thank you President Barack Obama!!!

    February 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. George the Democrat Obama fanatic.

    Love Obama but I hate the stimulus bill. But thats what we got so we have to roll with it. I bet Obama learned one important things this month. Be careful who writes your bills.

    February 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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