CNN Poll: 53% who watched speech give president thumbs up
February 12th, 2013
11:22 PM ET
2 years 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. Rob

    I didn't watch, I do not trust him

    February 13, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  2. Marty Curran

    Great speech. Anyone notice how the "Christian" republicans sat on their hands when Obama spoke about bringing people out of poverty? While Dems cheered for the advancement of the poor, Repubs were silent. Interesting how MUCH republicans disagree with their Savior on helping the poor.

    February 13, 2013 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  3. MN

    As usual, ALL TALK! That is all he can do and comes up with NOTHING! Such a liar! His first step is for everyone to depend solely on the government, then the US will become a Socialist Country. Is that what you want??

    February 13, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  4. Richard

    How many of your pollers were in the group thaat makes 7.67/hr. If I go with what he said about mimimunal wage I'd like that myself. But the main thing I feel is that THEY ALL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER to get the job done. Give alittle get a little. So far I still didn't hear anything new. I WANT IT MY WAY OR NOTHING.

    February 13, 2013 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  5. ranjit singh

    Doing good job.let him do

    February 13, 2013 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  6. Luv R Prez

    Love Prez Obama.Doing the BEST he can.

    February 13, 2013 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  7. DaveW

    Great speech Mr. President. Let's strengthen the middle class.

    February 13, 2013 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  8. John Tintle

    The sample of speech watchers was 44% Democrats and 17% Republicans (suggesting 39% independents, which is implausible). At any rate, a 53% approval of the speech is dismal, under those circumstances.

    February 13, 2013 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  9. Bill

    CNN/ORC International poll. Why an international poll? 44% Democrat and 17% republicans polled, of course his numbers would look good, how could the not. Skewed poll numbers done in a way that the only outcome is one that is in the presidents favor. How can we believe anything CNN reports.

    February 13, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    I am glad he won as president. I am glad I voted for him.

    February 13, 2013 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  11. Mark

    President Obama=Common Sense....republican response....no

    February 13, 2013 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  12. scotth

    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.

    That says it all about your articles

    February 13, 2013 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  13. Marie MD

    The President has been trying to reach across the aisle from day one. The rethug/tea baggers are the ones keeping the country down and, if we allowed them to do so , out!
    I loved the ending of the State of the Union when the President reminded us of all the killings thanks to the nra and their small percentage of the population.

    February 13, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  14. Mikie

    It felt like a rerun of I Love Lucy. We've seen it way too many times. But I must say how disgusted I was watching Boehner behave like a petulant child with his bored pouty face. It just demonstrated again that the Republican party are not interested in the needs and interests of the American people so much as they are focussed on making sure anything that Obama proposes doesn't get done. I would have expected a grown adult to have loftier ideals than that. Shame on all of you.

    February 13, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  15. Wud duh whah

    That's some creative math you have there.

    February 13, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  16. jim atmad

    It was a very good speech, in part because it was substantive and positive.

    As for the notion that is will lead to bipartisan cooperation, the 'bi' part of bipartisan is still lacking, as evidenced by Lindsey Graham's threat to hold up Chuck Hagel's nomination over the Benghazi dead-horse-beating he insists on continuing.

    February 13, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  17. reality

    Well said and well done, Mr. President.

    February 13, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  18. Grace

    The only thing I know is that:
    1) I'm going to pay for a LOT more Obamacare costs for persons that might not be legally in this country,
    2) My taxes just went up by 2% anyway, and that
    3) This President has spent MORE than Bush ever did, (W or H.W. Bush), and its NOT going to stop, because he believes in "Big Government."

    I don't think the younger generations know how expensive this president has become for their wallets, and BOY, they'll have a VERY RUDE awakening in the years to come when the taxes kick in.

    February 13, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  19. FubarObama

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated Tuesday that President Obama's signature healthcare law will cost about $1.3 trillion more over the next 10 years.

    February 13, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. Ken

    From the article - 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.

    So the poll is significantly biased towards Democrats. Over 35% more Democrats were polled than average, and on the Republican side around 30% less were polled. The net result is the poll has twice as many Democrats answering questions as opposed to Repulbicans. And that means all the numbers above that the media seems to gleefully put forth are WAY higher that they should be. For example, his 53% approval would be closer to 43% if you remove Democrats from the poll and put in a balancing share of Republicans. Overall, the poll numbers are so badly biased toward on set of views that it can't be trusted.

    February 13, 2013 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  21. Jim

    That's funny, the online poll currently says only 26% like the speech. 41% thought it was bad. Mr Steinhauser, needs to lay off the kool-aid.

    February 13, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  22. Joe

    Another hour of empty promises and no plan to back it up. He is a great speaker, but bad with follow through. Maybe after this second term he can go sell snow to Eskimos, since he is so good at selling almost anything. He just wont be able to deliver.

    February 13, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  23. Jim

    He gave a great campaign speech. Of course, that doesn't mean squat for a State of the Union speech except that he is more interested in partisan rhetoric than giving the actual, well you know, state of the Union...

    February 13, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  24. Manuel J.

    This article is obviously biased and full of manure! Of the 6 million jobs created this past few years, ~52% pay less than $17 per hour; ~$35,000. In other words, well-paying jobs are not being produced and is a result of Obama's weak economic policies and knowledge.

    American of Mexican decent AND U.S. Army Combat Vet

    February 13, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  25. FubarObama

    The same 53% who have their hands out and who don't pay taxes

    February 13, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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