Washington (CNN) - Nearly half of Americans who watched President Obama's State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a poll of people who viewed the address.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 48 percent of speech watchers had a very positive reaction, with three in 10 saying they had a somewhat positive response and 21 percent with a negative response.
The 48 percent who indicated they had a very positive response is down 20 points from the 68 percent of speech watchers who felt the same way a year ago about the president's February 24 prime time address to a joint session of Congress.
"Wednesday night's State of the Union audience is more Democratic than the nation as a whole, but speech-watchers were less Democratic this year than they were last year," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may be one reason why the number who gave his speech a 'very positive' rating is lower this year. But part of the reason also may be that speech-watchers didn't necessarily hear a new agenda and aren't confident that the president can improve health care or lower the deficit."
Two-thirds of speech-watchers who were questioned said the president will succeed in improving the economy, with nearly six in 10 saying he'll succeed in creating jobs. But people who viewed the address were split on whether Obama will be successful in improving health care and reducing the deficit.
According to the poll, speech-watchers are split on whether the address shows that the president will change his administration's goals, with 49 percent saying the speech is proof Obama will move in a new direction, while 50 percent disagreed.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted after Obama's address, with 400 adult Americans who watched the speech. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.
"The poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the speech," Holland said.
The sample of speech-watchers in the poll were 38 percent Democratic and 25 percent Republican. Those numbers indicate that the sample is about four to six points more Democratic than the population as a whole. The audience for Obama's February 2009 speech was 47 percent Democratic and 21 percent Republican.
The poll also indicated that before the speech, 53 percent of people questioned said they thought Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction. That increased to 71 percent when questioned after the speech.
"All in all, Obama had a definite affect on his audience," Holland added.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report