January 27th, 2010
11:44 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Half of speech watchers have very positive reaction

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.

Full Results [PDF]

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

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Deborah

    He is a great speaker, no doubt. However, I am concerned that he might be too intelligent, reasonable and passionate to be successful among his "peers" at this time. I mean, he wants people to trust, to be patient, and to make Washington honest and transparent. Imagine!

    I also noted that the Democrats were far better-dressed than the Republicans...can you spell old and gray?

    P.S. I am Canadian.

    January 28, 2010 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. Nea

    I dont know about anyone else but im just tired of the back and forth bickering and its my way or we want suppor that agenda without not even giving it a thought or try. The President and Congress are there to help the people its not about you when you are an elective official. For 8 years we tried the other way i say why not try another way and i believe thats what this President have been trying but the opposition dont want it which forces him to try to fix these problems with the help of a selective few i just want Congress to work together on fixing the jobs problem and other problems, and forget about trying to get re-elective if you do people right they will support you and re-elect you!

    January 28, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. Kathleen

    Obama made some bi-partisan promises, but his health care talk did as well and not one became a reality. His professorial way of lecturing co-horts, opposition, the supreme court, and the military was offensive and arrogant. He's a good speaker, but the past reveals that his rhetoric is empty.

    January 28, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  4. Granny Brooks

    President Obama is one of the greatest Presidents of all kind. Why didn't the republicans watch Bush as much as they watched Obama. If they had we would not be in the mess we are in now.

    January 28, 2010 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. Clark8

    Speaking is Obama's long suit, and his delivery was very good.
    However, his tone at time was preachy and lecturing.
    How can Obama, after a year in office as head of "the Government" try to get away with attempting at times as an outsider and chiding the Government? How can he get away with saying we must stop the finger pointing and blaming, when he frequently did just that (e.g., blaming the prior administration, telling Republicans they could not get away with just saying "no," etc.)?
    Many internal conflicts, e.g.: We must cut spending, reduce the deficit; but we must spend more on new programs.
    Brushed over the Christmas Day Bomber quick as he could, with no mention of decision to treat him as civilian criminal or why the High-value Intelligence teams are not up and running. No mention of failure to meet self-imposed deadline for closing Guantanamo, or decision to try KSM in NYC.

    January 28, 2010 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  6. Proud American

    Excellent Speech, and to my Idiot Republican friends "A house divided cannot stand". You looked horrible in those cheat suits with your arms folded. Grow Up and get to work.

    January 28, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  7. Sandy

    It sounded good. When can I start believing it? Soon, I hope. How can the republicans be less partisan when confronted with such blatant partisanship by POTUS.

    January 28, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  8. Future expat

    "...and 21 percent with a negative response."

    Have you noticed how this 21% keeps showing up in every poll? This is approximately the same number who

    -Thought George Bush did a good job
    -Think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president
    -Want health reform scrapped altogether

    These people are beyond help. Logic, reason, and facts have no effect on them. Like members of a cult, they need intensive psychological counseling, and they need to be deprogrammed.

    January 28, 2010 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  9. Aliou, Jacksonville, FL

    I think the president did good in the speech as well as in his first year in office, amist obstructionism from the tea republicans. Yet the job creation shouldn't continue to focus on giving money to employers who are unwilling to hire. Instead, the worker should have that money attached to his continous employment.

    January 28, 2010 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  10. Elizabeth in Seattle

    The speech was excellent. Covered all the bases.

    January 28, 2010 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  11. Sniffit

    Let the conservative arguments that that 48% with a VERY positive opinion is a minority who think Obama is saying the right things begin...

    Ignore the middle that's STILL SPLIT at your own expense my uber-conservative freunden. Please do.

    January 28, 2010 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  12. Rose

    The headline is a little misleading. Shouldn't it be...58% OF Americans had a very positive or positive response?

    CBS' poll found 83% of Americans approved of the speech

    There is a disconnect here, CNN.

    January 28, 2010 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  13. Jonathan

    This so-called Tea Party movement now seeks to position itself as the voice of the middle, of the independent voter, but all I hear when I read this statement and all others coming from Tea Partiers is partisaned, far right, racist, bitter, selfish and short-sighted recitation of Fox News diatribe. Look in the mirror Tea Baggers. It is your selfishnesh and short-sightedness that will be the downfall of this once great nation. Our President, black though he may be, speaks the truth about the destruction of the middle class, the loss of hope for a better, wealthier, healthier next generation for the vast middle. There is no vast middle any longer thanks to 3 decades of deregulatory, let the big corporations do as they may governance. It's time to take back our government from big business, but all you Tea Baggers do is act as camoflouge for big business and old racists who simply can't hear the truth because the truth, though it may hurt them in the short run, the truth will benefit our next generation. For keeping the President from fulfilling this restoration of the American dream, you do so merely to benefit yourself and your immediate need for gratification. I pity you Tea Baggers.

    January 28, 2010 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. Donald Watkins II

    I have a very positive outlook on the President's Speech.

    January 28, 2010 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  15. Grrr-Awful-O

    He is a great speech maker. And he's great looking. We love you, Obama! And he'd be a great underwear model! But he's a feckless president. But he is great at speeches.

    January 28, 2010 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  16. valwayne

    Obama was arrogant, sarcastic, insincere, and boring! He hauled out a bunch of campaign promises that he's already broken like we don't know he broke them. He promised again to repeal "Don't ask Don't tell", but that was an easy promise he and the Democrats have no intention of keeping. Gay men and women should refuse to give a single Democrat a penny as long as they and Obama refuse to honor their promises and Obama remains Discriminator in Chief. Gay men and women should refuse to vote for any Democrat in 2010 unless Obama lets us out of the back of the bus and stops being our Discriminator in Chief.

    January 28, 2010 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  17. Allens47

    For more than 35 years I've been continuously employed. As of December 31, 2009 I was laid off due to the lousy economic conditions. Obama says his stimulus plan is working and that the job outlook is improving. I beg to disagree. Since being laid off, I've contacted over 40 different prospective employers. Nobody has work available and nobody expects the conditions to change anytime soon. The stimulus plan is a joke. The effort to create jobs is a joke. I could care less whether a democrat, republican or independent occupies the White House, but this administration is clueless.

    January 28, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  18. Tina in AZ

    And who did you get for your polls...half of the American people did not "LIKE" it. Maybe one day CNN will start talking truth and get out of this administrations pocket.

    January 28, 2010 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  19. alva conway

    Pres .Obama's state of the union address singna'ls his intention to forge a head .His challenge to Republicans and Democrats was to find common ground and move the country forward.The big picture was while elected officials impede progress here at home due to partican squabbles the rest of the world continues to make progress and we run the risk are of loosing our position as leaders in the world.This fact really went on noticed by the pundits and should really serve to inform what is right for Americans .

    January 28, 2010 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  20. R McArthur

    This socialist clown must be stopped. The Republicans need to not let anything this guy tries pass. Then in 2012 we need to send him on his way as a 1 term failure.

    January 28, 2010 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  21. Jeff

    Only CNN would publish this ridiculous piece. A poll of 400 people, who watched the speech is not even statistically significant. (in other words, completely unreliable data. Regardless of their feeble attempt to temper the story with the truth (25% Republican and 38% Democrat) CNN's headline belies the intent..

    January 28, 2010 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  22. Mike in Texas

    The deficit is not our biggest issue people. The deficit should be addressed more in good economic times. Unfortunately we squandered the chance the past few years.

    Why all of a sudden everyone is up in arms about the deficit?

    If we cut spending now the economy will take even longer to turn around.

    Also, all I hear from the deficit hawks is cut spending, but what do you cut? Entitlements and national security eat most of the budget. Try cutting those.

    Earmarks? That would be like me not buying a $1.00 soda every day. The net effect is not much

    January 28, 2010 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  23. julie

    It was well worth it to US lower income people everyone tends to put off. and It was an exellent speech, there should be unity in the people, gives more hope for future and our children , we work hard just to stay alive .

    January 28, 2010 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  24. simon

    It was a great speech but can 0bama and decrate deliever what what has being said... the nation awaits...

    January 28, 2010 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  25. Will

    Amazing. 78% have a somewhat or very positive response to the speech and, undaunted, CNN spins it as good news for the Republicans.

    January 28, 2010 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
1 2 3