CNN Poll: Speech watcher reaction less positive than previous years
January 29th, 2014
12:37 AM ET
3 months ago

CNN Poll: Speech watcher reaction less positive than previous years

Washington (CNN) – Less than half of those surveyed who watched President Barack Obama's State of the Union address reacted very positively to it, a new poll showed.

And a while the President emphasized in his speech on Tuesday night that he's willing to bypass Congress and take executive action to accomplish his goals, a CNN/ORC International survey also indicated that only three in 10 said Obama should make unilateral changes to deal with major issues.

Read the full CNN/ORC International survey results

Forty-four percent of speech watchers questioned had a very positive reaction, with 32% saying they had a somewhat positive response and 22% with a negative response.

The 44% who said they had a very positive reaction is down from the 53% who said the same thing following the President's 2013 State of the Union address.

And it's slightly lower than the 48% who said they had a very positive reaction to then President George W. Bush's State of the Union address in 2006, as he began his sixth year in the White House.

During his address, the President told lawmakers that "I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."

But two-thirds of those questioned in the poll said that Obama should seek bipartisan compromise when dealing with major issues, with just 30% advocating the President make unilateral changes.

Obama spent much of his speech outlining ideas to boost the economy, and unveiled a proposal for a new type of account that allows Americans to save for retirement. According to the poll, 59% said Obama's plans would improve the economy, down 6 percentage points from last year's address.

Nearly seven in 10 said that the President's proposals would move the country in the right direction.

"But speech-watchers aren't certain that he will actually achieve most of those proposals. Fifty-three percent said that it is very likely or somewhat likely that most of the programs that Obama outlined on Tuesday night will be passed into law, with 46% thinking that is unlikely," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By contrast, in Bush's 2006 State of the Union address, two-thirds believed that the President would win passage of most of the programs outlined in his speech."

Nearly seven in 10 said it is likely that Obama's proposals would be effective at helping lower-income Americans join the middle class, but only 18% said his proposals would be "very effective" in reaching that goal.

"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," added 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 371 adult Americans who watched the speech. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. The sampling of speech watchers were 41% Democratic and 22% Republican. Those numbers indicate that the sample is about 10-12 points more Democratic than the population as a whole.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Try harder CNN not to make it clear your bias is republican.
    Comparing Bush 2006 to Obama now statistically is nonsense the economy was fine then under bush , wars were doing OK but about to fail horrendously in both cases
    Give us abreak stop with these meaningless stas and comparisons.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    January 29, 2014 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  2. Randal

    These numbers came from a poll that was 41% democrat and 22% republican. And the numbers are still miserable.

    January 29, 2014 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  3. diggerrigger

    ALL'S is left to say is that he is on his own...NOW! We will have to see what transpires in the next 3 years with all the tasks at his hands, HEH???

    January 29, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  4. james

    Just a bunch of lies fromn the worst president ever . Hillary or Biden will be just as bad

    January 29, 2014 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Any reviews on the republican response? The bagger response? The Rand Paul Party response? What a bunch of clowns in the GOP circus.

    January 29, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  6. John, PA

    It’s not hard to believe the American people would poll to this low percentage. Always wrong Obama polls are nothing to brag about…. The Obama presidency is nothing to brag about, he is a Failure on every level.

    January 29, 2014 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  7. DC Johnny

    I can read you a fairy tale about princesses and unicorns, but the difference is that you'd listen with your imagination and enjoy it, and not because your children's future is hanging in the balance.

    This president uses the most powerful pulpit in the world to tell us about princesses and unicorns.

    January 29, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  8. Dean

    Every time Obama opens his mouth, his favorability numbers drop. Yet, he's too ignorant (and arrogant) to realize this.

    January 29, 2014 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  9. zoomzoom

    Morning CNN- As a voter 4 President Obama 2 Xs I am very disheartened by the state of the USA + the lack of transparency + removing all troops from Afghanistan + Iraq! Let those people `fight their own battles` + bring our military heros back home. The $ wasted could`ve saved lives here on American soil. ie. revamping mental health system + reducing the ridiculous power the NRA has! EVERYDAY there is a school , mall , drive by shooting + we have become apathetic + complacent 2 this `business as usual` behavior. Very sad indeed.

    January 29, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Don

    Same old speech different day. Of course Biden and Pelosi will clap wildly at anything Obama says but the public is on to Obama now. He gives a great speech but that doesn't make him a good president. He has more people depending on Big Government for everything, he rammed am umpopular Health Care bill down our throats while my premiums still went up, most unemployed now give up even finding a job, keeps spending money, arrogantly thinks he knows the best decisions without consensus and has divided this country racially back to the 50/60's. This is our future now- we have created so many people living off the Gov't trough- many working people are now wondering why bother to work? My neighbor gets the same amount of money I get without getting off the couch.

    January 29, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  11. frank

    boring as usual! same speech from the same fake, lying "leader"

    January 29, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    That's actually a far better rating, than deserved. The empty suit, had zero substance.

    I think it was nothing but a rally call to the Dems.......who are losing confidence in this charlatan, who is deceiving them all.

    January 29, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. Marie

    I loved the speech, all he wants is everyone to have a chance to do better.

    January 29, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. The Truth Hurts

    @ZoomZoom:

    "EVERYDAY there is a school , mall , drive by shooting + we have become apathetic + complacent 2 this `business as usual` behavior. Very sad indeed."

    Really? Where do you get those statistics?

    January 29, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  15. Lizzie

    Tampa Tim, your on every page saying the same thing, you LOVE the President and whatever he says is the truth, might want to check into those figures he threw out, or that HE had nothing to do with the US producing more oil.

    January 29, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  16. Scott

    A 76% positive reaction and the headline is that it was "less positive".

    Walks away, shaking head and muttering...

    January 29, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. John

    I'm optimistic about the future.

    January 29, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. S.B. Stein

    It would be nice to see what the Congress will do to work with the president. He said that he wants to do something. I heard him say that he will do what he can where allowed. That says that he is either looking to move as fast as possible or is very frustrated with Congress not doing the business of the American people.

    January 29, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. Brian in DC

    Was there another "pivot" towards the economy? It appears the only shovel- ready program was Obama's on-the-job training to be POTUS.

    January 29, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. smc

    So, 76% had a "positive" view, but CNN twists it into a negative by only looking at the "very" positive?

    The Republican party is failing. Republican policies over the past 30+ years have been a disaster for this country, and their only answer is more of the same failed policies.

    The mainstream media is desperate to keep the same two-party game going because it's the cheapest way to feed their corporate greed. So, they keep pushing this doom and gloom story on Obama even though economically, the country is moving forward. Can't we just admit it and let the Republican party die already? I know there will be some years of upheaval as various factions struggle to replace the GOP, but in the long run the country will be better off.

    January 29, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. rs

    John, PA

    It’s not hard to believe the American people would poll to this low percentage. Always wrong Obama polls are nothing to brag about…. The Obama presidency is nothing to brag about, he is a Failure on every level.
    ____________________________
    So, how do you feel about the approval rating of Republicans? 19% my friend- that means even Republican voters don't approve of their Congressmen.

    January 29, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Linda

    He will use his executive order to bypass Congress! Now he is King Obama. What happened to sitting down with Congress to pass bills. Oh I forgot he was playing golf or basketball. The king thinks it is below him to talk to congress. How many years do we have of the King???

    January 29, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    Scott
    A 76% positive reaction and the headline is that it was "less positive".

    Walks away, shaking head and muttering...
    ----------------------

    New to CNN are you? Priceless, isn't it?

    BTW: thanks for the laugh of the day.

    January 29, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. rs

    Brian in DC

    Was there another "pivot" towards the economy? It appears the only shovel- ready program was Obama's on-the-job training to be POTUS.
    _________________________
    Remind me again what the GOP's big ideas were for ending their recession. I don't seem to recall they actually had any. Seeing as they have produced zero jobs bills in 5 years, I think it safe to say they still don't.

    January 29, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Readingnut

    @ SMC CNN twists it into a negative? Yes, CNN is widely known to be a big Republican supporter! <-sarcasm

    I was surprised the reaction wasn't more positive actually. As the vast majority of viewers we're most likely below the average intelligence threshhold and would believe the fairy tale being spun. "I want everyone to have everything without doing much of anything!" Whoo Hoo!

    January 29, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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