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. AL

    I hope all the people complaining about the stimulus send their checks right back to Washington.. If they don't agree and don't think it's going to do anything they they shouldn't have their hand out ready for the taking. Send it back, Obama will find a much better use for it, in health care, education, RX drugs for the elderly.. Big a big man and show the world how you really feel.. These people have what I call a long arm and a short arm..

    February 25, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. william barker

    As for the speech last night mr obama did a lot of talking but i came away with an empty feeling.That same old politics as past years a lot of promises but had no meaning,he has no way all he thinks of as big banks and big insurence companys by saying the are to big to fail my job was not to big to fail.I was laid off this year because people can not buy things.No job no money he refered to tap and trade i think that is why some companys are moveing to other countries.I know furniture in north carolina is going fast most of sock mills are closed when will washington wake up and see with no jobs the country will fail that is a fact .just look in history books germany failed trying to hold up the banks.I say if your bank is bleeding the country dry good by

    February 25, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Mike

    Do you realize how stupid you people sound? Hitler gave great speeches too, look where that got people. You can't buy into any political jargen, if you do, you are truly uneducated. Every politician has his/her own political agenda, Obama has a long list.

    The economy is not going to turn around in the next 2 years, we are very far from rock bottom. Get this through your head people, the Obama administration is going to allow the lazy to be lazier and the working class to work harder. That is how it all breaks down......give more to the poor and tax the richer.

    I busted my butt to get through college and make only $60k a year, I'll be damned if I have to give any to some slop that's spittin out kids every 9 months and cashing in on our B.S. welfare system.

    Reform Reform Reform........Not Spend Spend Spend..........

    February 25, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. AL

    You people think McShame would have done a better job? He is so dumb he was blaming Obama for ordering a fleet of helicopters when it was his old pal BUSHIE..

    February 25, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Danielle

    My comment is specifically aimed that the Republican response to President Obama's speech. I can't help but feel the Republican party is working against the American people. We need this stimulus to work and they are repeatedly undermining the President's ability to get the American people behind him. The stimulus passed, move on. If your not part of the solution, your part of the problem.

    February 25, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. usualone

    If I am not mistaken, it was stated that specifics would not be mentioned in this speech.

    February 25, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. eds

    It was an excellent speech. He really feels hope, and that is a contagious thing. This country needs it. He believes in the country, he believes in us all. We need to do the same. Knuckle down and get to work helping this great leader find our way out of the $hit mess Bush and his banker buddies have gotten us into!

    February 25, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Fred

    The republican response to the President's speech is "give the rich people tax breaks and sit back and wait".

    Didn't we hear this before? The republican party seems to be in a state of denial or is it a state of euphoria that they finally broke the government and organized labor.

    The suggestion by the republican governor feelgood that the republicans were responsible for leading us out of the last Great Depression is the most ludicrous comment ever made.

    February 25, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. baffled

    I think we are all missing something. If we want to help American people, then why haven't we created a bailout for the American people? There are approximately 304,000,000 Americans living in this country. Instead of spending hundrends of billions of dollars on the businesses and businessmen who are already loaded, why not give everyone in America $1 million dollars or so to pay off their debt (exclude the wealthy). If this was done, the mortgage crisis wouldn't exist and people would still have their homes. People would be able to pay down their debt and spend money in the economy.

    February 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Sam Sixpack

    Sixty-seven percent of speech-watchers are communists.

    February 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Matt B

    This survey shows how uninformed we as a country have become. The President tells us we can nationalize education, nationalize healthcare, lower taxes and print money like in a game of Monopoly...all while avoiding exceptional inflation and cutting the deficit? Same old "something for nothing" that all politicians continue to sell.

    Have people not realized that everytime the President or his cabinet speak, the global markets collapse because the plans are so ridiculous? We have a VP that says the administration has a 30% chance of failing, a Secretary of Treasury that entered his first press conference so unprepared that two economists wrote they felt sorry for him because he was so bad, we have a senior member of Congress saying we should nationalize the banking system and a President trying to sell an alternate universe to the people of this country because he knows most people will blindly follow him with whatever he does (please see an $800 billion stimulus package that several members of Congress admitted they didn't even have time to read before voting for it).

    February 25, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Dennis, Millbrae, CA

    For those looking for specifics in President Obama's speech, here's a Civics 101 lesson for you. One of the fundamental differences between private industry and government is that in private industry you can pretty much do whatever you want unless there is a law specifically prohibiting it (see Wall Street); in government, you can only do that which is authorized and funded by law. Congress passes the Bills that become law after the President signs the Bill. The details of any program are contained in the authorizing law, and, while the President may suggest legislation, Congress has the sole power to pass legislation, i.e., President Obama does not have the power to dictate the details of any program.

    February 25, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Joe Fattal

    The man like to make speeches, that is for sure. He is making another one sometime this week about Iraq. Too many speeches, but I need to see something materialistic achieved besides speeches. So far nothing except what's on papers.

    February 25, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. AFAM

    former pres bush isnt not in the same level with pres obama.first of all pres obama is smarter than bush.and he will be a better president than bush.not even close.bush wouldnt have given that speech last night.

    February 25, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Sue Chamberlain

    My husband and myself retired to outside a smal town in northeast Michigan. Today (Wed.) I went to town for an exercise group and grocery shopping. I was amazed at the fact that everyone I encountered while in town watched Mr. Obama's speech last night and across the board the comments were positive. These are people that are of different political persuasions, but all feel we now have a leader that is intelligent, articulate and straightforward. The biggest compliant was with Congress and the fact that the preception is a lack of willingness for Congress to "suck it up" and work for the good of the whole. Somehow that group of individuals need to get over themsleves and starting work together.

    February 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Zion

    @ Typical White Person
    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?

    Yes, I watched all of Bush's speeches that's why I'm not surprised that he is one of the worst presidents in US history. I love people asking for specifics. Perhaps if we had asked Bush for specifics on how to end the occupation of Iraq, our men and women would be safely at home. Obama gives specifics in every speech, so perhaps you weren't listening, again, this would account for the last guy being elected twice.

    February 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Mississippi Mike

    Thanks again CNN ( certainly not news ). I guess if i said i got all tingly you would post my remarks, but truth be told i stand by my first post.

    February 25, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Deb

    Last night I felt great comfort that our beloved country is moving in the right direction with a phenomenal leader. After a great speech and even better agenda, we were subjected to Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. His response to the President's speech was lame and more of the same...NO, NO, NO!

    February 25, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. geecee

    It doesn't surprise me that most people who watched Obama's speech to Congress were Democrats. The Republicans just hate the man and are not interested in anything he has to say. Interestingly though, I disliked Bush but I listened to his State of the Union speechs, addresses to Congress, press conferences, all because I love my country and he was the President and I wanted to know what his plans were for our Country. I guess the Republicans don't think like that. I hope they watched Jindal's rebuttal though. After all, isn't he their "star" for 2012? Yikes, good luck with that!!!

    February 25, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    Even if you don't agree with everything Obama said it's nice to listen to a President without having to wince in pain at the fractured English, twisted logic and constant references to terrorism as justification for wars, spending, lies, and secrecy of the previous President.

    February 25, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. America Support

    Why are we still talking about "Obama Supporters"

    He's the President of the United States of America!
    We all should support him or at least support something to help the country grow stronger financial, morally and ethically.

    The election is over. He won.

    February 25, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. DIZIZI31

    Just because we have information at the speed of sound doesn't mean that changes take place the quickly. Just because we can absorb all the issues doesn't mean we have sat down and counted the cost. Changing the way the government operates is not fast food. The last time change happened this quickly, the Soviet Union broke up and they're still reeling from the fall-out.

    All we are saying... Is give "Peace" a chance.

    February 25, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. kc

    Thumbs up *bill from pa* – I'm sick of the partisanship. It often seems that the politicians don't even realize they have constituents. And on Obama's plans, I'm willing to give them a shot because they seem to be an intelligent option and frankly, doing nothing constructive has not served us well over the last 8 years. A message to the GOP: if you have some ideas that are helpful to the cause of the people, speak up. Right now, you are looking petulant and obstructive. If I were your constituent, I'd be sick and tired of your shenanigans!

    February 25, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    I loved it. Especially the part when he said 'this is not about the banks, this about the people." I give him an A+. The speech had the right tone, it was honest and it was inspirational.

    February 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Tom in Wheaton, Illinois

    The speech was so good that even the Republicans got up and cheered by the time it was half over. I do wish Obama could somehow convince the average Republican that macro economics has almost NOTHING to do with a "balanced" checkbook at home. They just don't get it. They are all worried about "paying back this enormous debt", and that is, in many respects, not even an option. Governments print money. Governments decide what it is worth. We are NOT on any gold standard, so there is NOT a big pile of money that gets "used up". The dollar is backed by the "full faith and trust of the Government of the United States" and that is all. That "full faith and trust" does, by the way, include a REALLY BIG army, navy, and air force, so it isn't just a slogan. Maybe the whole notion is "too scary" for the average Republican.

    February 25, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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