CNN Poll: 53% who watched speech give president thumbs up
February 12th, 2013
11:22 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: 53% who watched speech give president thumbs up

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans who watched President Barack Obama's State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a survey of people across the country who viewed Tuesday night's address.

But a CNN/ORC International poll also indicated that less than four in ten think the speech will lead to more bipartisan cooperation.

Fifty-three percent of speech watchers questioned in the poll had a very positive reaction, with 24% saying they had a somewhat positive response and 22% with a negative response.

"Tuesday night's State of the Union audience is more Democratic than the nation as a whole, which is typical for a President Obama speech and indicates that the speech-watchers were predisposed to like what Obama said," noted CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "When George W. Bush was president, his audiences were more Republican than the general public at that time, and his speeches were usually well-received for that same reason."

The CNN Poll was conducted by ORC International after Obama's address, with 393 adult Americans who watched the speech. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The sample of speech-watchers in the poll were 44% Democratic and 17% Republican. Those numbers indicate that the sample is about 12 points more Democratic than the population as a whole.

"The poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the speech," added Holland.

The 53% who indicated they had a very positive response is roughly the same as the 52% of speech watchers who felt the same way two years ago about the president's 2011 State of the Union address. Forty-eight percent of speech watchers felt the same way about the president's 2010 State of the Union address. No CNN/ORC poll was taken after Obama's 2012 State of the Union address because it was held during the presidential campaign season.

According to the new survey, 71% of speech watchers said the president's policies will move the country in the right direction, with 26% saying Obama's polices will take the nation in the wrong direction. The 71% of speech watchers who said the president's polices will move the country in the right direction is up six points from before the speech.

In his speech, the president urged both Democrats and Republicans to "set party interests aside" to reach agreement. But only 39% said the State of the Union address will lead to more bipartisan cooperation, with 53% saying it will not lead to the two political parties reaching across the aisle.

Fifty-eight percent of those questioned said the president's speech was better than his second inaugural address, with one in five saying that last month's speech was the better of the two.

The president's speech was just over an hour in length, and 81% said that was just about right, with 13% saying the address was too long and 5% saying it wasn't long enough.

Near the end of his speech the president made an emotional plea for Congress to hold votes on controversial proposals for tougher gun laws after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings in December that killed 20 schoolchildren. Listing gun violence victims, some of whom were in the audience at the Capitol, Obama said "they deserve a vote" as the audience cheered loudly.

Seven in ten speech watchers said that the president's gun polices would move the country in the right direction, up nine points from before the start of the address.

The president dedicated a portion of his speech to push for Congress to act on immigration reform. Just over three-fourths said Obama's policies on immigration would move the country in the right direction, up 12 points from before the address. And 73% said the same thing about the president's comments on the environment, up seven points from before the speech.

Nearly two-thirds said the plans Obama outlined in the address will succeed in improving the economy. Sixty-four percent said the president's proposals will succeed in creating jobs, with six in the saying his plans will be successful in reforming the tax code and 55% saying the same thing about reducing the deficit.


Filed under: President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Name Roy Valencia

    He has my vote

    February 12, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  2. Name Csrl

    President Obama did a great job. President and Michelle Rocks.....

    February 12, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  3. Jamie smith

    This poll is deceptive. The poll taken on fox news showed 55% of the responses were negative. That the poll meter never went above 0. It was always negative......

    February 12, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  4. Name Csrl

    Great speech by a Great President. Very uplifting Speech...

    February 12, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. fobesq

    Very good speech. Makes me proud to be American.

    February 12, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Soooo 77% have a positive reaction?

    February 12, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. Dan

    Why has CNN released this poll and headline? The headline is what people will read, but their sample does not even closely represent the makeup of America. It is a blatant misrepresentation.

    February 12, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. Jeff

    CNN why don't you add what Obama's over all approval rating of the economy is though.

    February 13, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. Sean

    Well duh, most people who tuned in actually wanted to see him. So, of course they were pleased when they were able to do just that. What should concern O is that the % wasn't higher. C'mon CNN, remember the good ol days when you reported news. Oh, and please fire the anchor that asked Bill Nye if the asteroid was caused by global warming – I almost choked on my food laughing so hard.

    February 13, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  10. snowdogg

    " 71% of speech watchers said the president's policies will move the country in the right direction,"

    February 13, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. billmelater1

    The sample of speech-watchers in the poll were 44% Democratic and 17% Republican" Yea a good balance of the country. Good job CNN you have a great pules on the country. I'm surprised you ONLY got 53%. Should of been more like 60% to 70% but I guess your are trying to be fair and balanced just like your polls or is it even Democrats see the disaster coming?

    February 13, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  12. Natrldiver

    The only reason that so many gave him the thumbs up is because they still believe in his kool-aid infused pipe dream of wealth redistribution and economic destabalization. Those who are informed and have seen the track record of the past four years know better. The reality is:
    1. Spending has increased over the past four years as has the debt.
    2. The debt has increased by over 60% since Obama took office in 2008
    3. There has not been a budget in four years
    4. Obama's health care plan is already costing more than estimated even before it is implemented
    5. Obama favors big government and social dependency over free will
    6. Believes the Constitution is a flawed document. I guess he finds the bill of rights offensive.
    7. Has not once tried to work with both parties. Instead he says that he will not negotiate.

    Sorry Mr. President, this is a republic not a dictatorship. You cannot force your will upon the people who are your employers. You work for the people, not the people for the government.

    February 13, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. Moses

    It was an encouraging and inspirational speech.

    February 13, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  14. william murphy

    53 percent that watched it voted for it what about the rest that didint watch it bias

    February 13, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  15. Dem American

    Obama does not do much of anything he states. What makes you think this year will be any different. He really epitomizes exactly what is wrong with D.C. and now so with this country. Its a solid re-run of the Jimmy Carter years. And I am not the only Democrat in my family who thinks so. Obama is a bungler.

    February 13, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  16. JG11

    I heard nothing new tonight; same old stuff. More taxes, shovel ready jobs for infrastructure, green energy, and education. He has been saying this since 2008 and the economy isn't doing well. I am among the 47 percent that give the speech thumbs down.

    February 13, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  17. jan

    53% of his base, who else watched ?

    February 13, 2013 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. krhodes

    53% of the 100.% of dems who watched approve?

    February 13, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  19. earth

    he did fine

    February 13, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  20. Tomasina

    the guy is insane. We must stop the spending and increase revenue with a flat tax. Throw the entire tax code out the window and implement the same flat tax as is used so successfully throughout the rest of the globe.

    February 13, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  21. Cyphonix

    "CNN Poll: 53% who watched speech give president thumbs up"

    In TV history, have I never seen so much hot air go down in flames since The Hindenburg disaster. Obama gives good lip service and the media eats it like candy. And the media-zombie-nation gives it "thumbs-up". (chuckle!)

    February 13, 2013 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  22. ophu

    Not counting, of course, the 47 percent who voted for Romney.

    February 13, 2013 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  23. Kling

    1 in 4 polled on CNN web poll say the current state of the Union is "positive."

    February 13, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  24. mark

    President gave a great speech, but we now have to get rid of the GOP to make it work and to move America into the current century.

    February 13, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  25. Bob

    WOW 393 people, and that is supposed to be a legitimate pole, representative of the entire U.S.? That is roughly 8 people per state that they could of polled. With all of the technology and inter-connectedness of the world today I would of thought they could of found a better representation, but if their goal was to have a somewhat slanted poll that reflected the results they desired I am sure they got it. Great job reporting a worthless poll!

    February 13, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
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