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. REG in AZ

    Obama's speech was excellent, addressing the people's concerns and offering hope without a lot of 'blue sky'. Last night George Will made a statement that I think I quote accurately as, ‘President Obama wants to take it from the successful and give it to the unsuccessful’. When Republicans use narrow views such as that to criticize, yet they actually blindly and stubbornly supported the arrogant irresponsibility of Bush-Cheney, and then they advocate that they offer hope for the average American with having a real desire for bipartisan cooperation, as Bobby Jindal stated, yet they just follow a strong and united obstructionist policy that literally only faults, blocks and attempts to sabotage everything, they really instill no confidence and rather only generate contempt. It seems they always try to justify returning to more of the same concentration on Special Interests and a select few where they gave only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to the many and that is totally unacceptable. Republicans now simply depend on rhetoric to deceive instead of deeds to believe.

    February 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Brian

    I am glad many Americans liked his speech maybe they will go out and spend some money and stimulate the economy if they are so confident in him. After a 250 point day in the Dow his speech has taken it down 125 point this morning. Its time he shuts his mouth and starts listening to the majority of economists. I know he is panhandling to the bottom feeders those who do not pay their mortgage (8%), those who do not pay any income tax 50%, but they are not the ones who will get the economy moving again. They probably can't even get off the couch.

    February 25, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. C W

    I thought it was an excellent speech. Obama gave it to us straight: We're in a crisis. I really appreciate the fact that he believes we are adults who can not only handle the truth, but are also more than capable of rising to the challenges we must face. He's an optomist, but also a realist; he knows these problems didn't happen overnight, and so fixing them will also take time.

    The Republicans have nothing to offer except criticism and more of the same voodoo economic policies that created this mess. Obama has sound ideas, more than enough will to implement them, and the genuine desire to bring our country together to solve these problems.

    I am very proud of our President and, like him, confident that we Americans will come together and succeed!

    February 25, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. obama-mama

    It surely scored with me. Brilliant speech Mr. President. I don't this Obama is all talk. I truly believe he plans to do what he says. I'm sure he will have those non-believers but I think he can still do it.

    February 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Atlantan

    still hoping
    thanks for starting the count down for re-election

    February 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. 228rory

    Ahhhhh.

    THe Obama Kool Aid is so refreshing....quenches my thirst, and is nourishing.

    Way better than that glass of sewage water the Bush Camp served up the last 8 years.

    February 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Grandmom of 10

    If Bobby J. is all we've got; it's going to be a sad day for the republicans next time around. Will someone please tell him that the Federal Government paid for the repair of New Orleans Katrina and not the state of Louisiana, and they paid dearly.

    February 25, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. 228rory

    AHhhhhh

    The Obama Kool-Aid is refreshing..........gulp....... quenches my thirst.......gulp.......and is nourishing to my body....

    A lot better than that glass of sewage water the Bush Camp served up for the past 8 years.

    February 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Splurge

    Yay. A speech to make us feel good and remind us why we liked his oratory skills. Too bad it wasn't a plan with tangibles as you can see by the market reaction. This was a speech on the economy and he gave no specifics? Wow. When will Obamafans wake up and realize that the campaign is over and it's time to treat Obama like a president instead of a messiah.

    February 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Harriet Michel

    While watching President Obama's inspiring performance and seeing the Republicans reactions, I kept thinking my God, what if we'd been listening to Presindent McCain with a giddy VP Sarah Palin grinning in the background.A VERY SCARY THOUGHT INDEED!Thank goodness Americans had the sense to elect the right man for these complicated and difficult times.

    February 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Maggie from Virginia

    nm mom, you are so right... The republicans used God to manipulate the masses and to hide their hypocrisy. Now they are experiencing God's wrath.

    February 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. JV

    The real measure will be how the stock market reacts to his speech. Ever since he was elected, the market has done nothing but go down. It has lost 25% of its value since 11-4-08 and has not shown signs of improvement for 3 months now. The real people in this economy know a wolf in sheeps clothing when they see one. How many welefare recipients do you think own shares in the market? If they did, the market would be up now, right, since they swallow up everything he says. The real fact is that this president, and the spendhound democrats led by Pelousy, have spent more money in the history of any congress. 36 days in office and $800 billion equals $22 billion per day so far. That's 9 zeros. Wouldn't that scare the crap out of the average citizen? It should. And for the omnibus bill coming through with the 9,000 earmarks and $7 billion attached to it....lets see if the president breaks another promise and does not address this. If he were tru to his campaign promises, he would threaten to veto this until the "clean it up". But......whats another $7 billion......right?

    February 25, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. gaysforpalin

    Hope doesn't pay for a thing.

    February 25, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. C W

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

    This is a lie and you know it! The Recovery Act that was passed is worth $780 Billion; Bush's budget for 2008 was $2.9 trillion.

    Quit spreading lies!

    February 25, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. INDIANA MAMA

    @ Kelly WI, still hoping, and AJ...

    LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR JOBS, AND HOMES...WONDER IF YOU WILL LIKE HIM THEN............A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.................YOU FRIGGIN MORONS

    February 25, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. John

    The American people by an overwhelming majority understand what the President is doing and support him fully.

    If you republicans can't get behind your President then, it's high time you got out of office and us voters will help you do just that.

    February 25, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Tunstall

    This is directed to "Still Waiting & Counting"

    If you are referring to the end of Obama's first term, please tell me
    where would you be in the next four years if McCain/Palin was in the "White House?" I am waiting""""""""""""

    February 25, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. John

    The American people by an overwhelming majority understand what the President is doing and support him fully.

    If you republicans can't get behind your President then, it's high time you got out of office and us voters will help you do just that.

    February 25, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. Laura

    I wonder if God is offended by all these Republicans derogatorily referring to Obama as "The Messiah..."

    February 25, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. 2Nurselady

    I thought President Obama's speech was excellent. I appreciate that he is keeping us apprised and I agree with the goals he has for this country. He has already done so much toward getting this country back on the right track. Godspeed, Mister President!

    I would also like to comment on Governor Jindal... I think it is very sad that a person would put his own political aspirations above the needs of the people in the state he is supposed to representing. I think this will NOT bode well for Jindal. Democrats have seen what they can do in this country by coming together and VOTING! I think every Louisiana citizen should ensure that they are registered to vote when Jindal comes up for election for anything and VOTE HIM and others like him OUT of office if he and they will not represent The People as representatives should be doing.

    February 25, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Hope for the future

    Bravo, Mr President!!!!!

    YES we can! YES we did! YES we will!

    February 25, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Deborah

    It is clear that he didn't read the Stimulus Bill OR that he is a VERY Practiced Liar!

    His Speech was so out of touch with Reality that I think he is actually insane.

    Does Washington really believe Americans are that stupid???????

    We will prevail because we are a people with a strong spirit, at this point it is clear we need to get this insane, out of touch with Reality "Leader" out before he spends us into complete ruin!

    I'm mailing another Tea Bag to the White House today!

    February 25, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. nora cal

    Boys and Girls of the media: Please take note we don't care for your insight and attempt to stir controversy. PRESIDENT Obama delivered what this country needed. His speech and ideas were the best I have seen in my 65 years. This man will lead us out of this mess. It may take longer however if the media and republicans get their way. I am tired of the media being negative about everything he does or says. You spout off like you have some wounderful insight. The truth is however you are blinded by your own hopes of saying something intelligent while blathering on. To all the pundits who want to give advice you need to remember this man won the primary and the presidency withoput your advice and he will lead us out of this. You "children need to get out of the way!

    February 25, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. nora cal

    Boys and Girls of the media: Please take note we don't care for your insight and attempt to stir controversy. PRESIDENT Obama delivered what this country needed. His speech and ideas were the best I have seen in my 65 years. This man will lead us out of this mess. It may take longer however if the media and republicans get their way. I am tired of the media being negative about everything he does or says. You spout off like you have some wounderful insight. The truth is however you are blinded by your own hopes of saying something intelligent while blathering on. To all the pundits who want to give advice you need to remember this man won the primary and the presidency withoput your advice and he will lead us out of this. You "children "need to get out of the way!

    February 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Sniffit

    Dear GOP:

    The bus. On it or under it? Choose wisely.

    Sincerely,

    The American Public

    February 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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