February 24th, 2009
11:04 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Obama's speech scored with viewers

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that two-thirds of those who watched President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress reacted favorably to his speech.

Sixty-eight percent of speech-watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey Tuesday night had a very positive reaction to the president's address, with 24 percent suggesting they had a somewhat positive response and 8 percent indicating they had a negative reaction.

Since the president is a Democrat, the audience watching his speech is a bit out of line with the nation's breakdown by party. The speech audience questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll is about 8 to 10 points more Democratic than the general public.

Eighty-five percent of those polled said the president's speech made them feel more optimistic about the direction the country is headed in the next few years, with 11 percent indicating the speech made the feel more pessimistic.

Eighty-two percent of speech watchers say they support the economic plan Obama outlined in his prime-time address, with 17 percent opposing the proposals.

"These are great numbers for Obama, but they are no better or worse that Bill Clinton or George W. Bush got after their first speeches to Congress," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

For example, 82 percent said they support the proposals Obama outlined in his speech tonight. After Bill Clinton's first address to Congress in February, 1993, 79 percent of speech-watchers supported his policies. And George W. Bush got virtually the same amount of support for his proposals after his first speech eight years ago.

"That may mean that speech-watchers were rallying around the new president as much as they were rallying around his proposals," says Holland. "That may strike a cautionary note for the Obama White House, since Clinton's proposals in 1993 were initially well-received but quickly ran into trouble with Congress and the American public."

A big question is whether the address, which was watched by millions across the country, changed any minds.

"Among speech-watchers, the number who thought Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction grew by 17 points after they listened to Tuesday's address," says Holland.

Eight out of ten said the president's plans will succeed in improving the economy, and 68 percent feel his proposals will work in reducing the federal deficit.

Three out of four questioned say that Obama's plan will succeed in improving health care, and 82 percent feel that his proposals will create or save jobs across the country.

The survey included 484 speech-watchers questioned by telephone minutes after the president finished his address. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

(Updated 11:30 p.m.)

Filed under: Extra • Obama address
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. cindy

    where are the details? we will never hear them. details are not for us common everyday americans- i guess we are too stupid to understand those little detail things. we are supposed to sit quiet and let the one everyone thinks is bringing us Hope and not ask questions. i do not have faith in this at all. the dems just want to make promises and bring the government in to control everything. people-wake up before it is too late. your government is going to take over everything in america and before you know it you will not be able to do anything about it. stand up now and demand answers.

    February 24, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  2. Sue - Missouri

    He did outstanding! Bobby Jindal respnse was just pathetic! Mr. President – Continue to guide the Ship in the right directions – The repug's leadership is just horrific!

    February 24, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  3. Jay

    Excellent! Excellent Speech!

    February 24, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. aliou FL

    I was not polled but I support their views. I found it very refreshing.

    February 24, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. go away mongers -Ventura CA

    It was a wonderful speech made by a wonderful American. I can once again say, I LOVE MY PRESIDENT and I respect the way he does things.
    "This is the United States of America and we don't torture!"
    After eight long years, the drought is over!

    February 24, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  6. Ohio for Obama- Suburbs

    I'm willing to bet that those 24 percent were republicans and non-Obama supporters.

    February 24, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. chris

    er, uh a more unbiased poll next time?

    February 24, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  8. Vic

    Thought Prez Obama did very well. Sometimes, I feel like he's trying to do too much too fast

    February 24, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Jason

    Can CNN fact check the republican response? I find it to be full of lies and more lies. How do you agree with universal health care, but do nothing to change the current system? How can you claim Obama is spending to much, when the republican party spent more money and made government bigger than it ever has before. Again can CNN fact check the republican response?

    February 24, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  10. hopeful2009

    It does not hurt to hear some optimism from those in high office. Us little people in the world have to place our faith first and utmost in the higher powerr-GOD. But we would hope those we voted in office would remember who they are representing. Obama's speech was inspiring because I believe he truly intends to achieve all he spoke of. I am not so naive to believe he is capable of getting anything done without the rest of our representative but it is truly a comfort to know that our primary Leader has the people best interest at heart. God Bless this Nation!!!

    February 24, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  11. Muffet

    Excellent speech! I am really feeling that President Obama will deliver on his promises. You have to give the President full credit for trying. For naysayers who thrive on negativity....I believe you will be very disappointed with the Obama team.

    February 24, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  12. Me

    Very Very Very Nice speech, I was septical, but now wow! I'm waiting to see. Really quick question: Where is joe the Plumber?????

    February 24, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  13. awood

    Check out your latest ratings – 68% of nothing is still nothing

    February 24, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. lisabeth az

    Yes we can! I wonder how Jindals speech made people feel about the future. Not too great I bet. No new ideas. Same old rhetoric.

    February 24, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. Max from California


    February 24, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. arivera

    Having a brilliant talker in the white house is quite a change of pace for the country. Bush was always so negative toward people with a different opinion. To bad the GOP has continued this practice of name calling and hateful rhetoric. The country is tired of it and desperately wants something new.

    February 24, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. C-Dawg

    Oh wow... "the speech audience was about 8 to 10 points more Democratic than the general public"... and yet Obama's numbers were no better than George W. Bush's after his first speech to Congress... there's some "change" we can believe in!


    February 24, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. Ndidi Ihezue

    This is the best president for this great Country at this moment.

    February 24, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. mrsb

    Good to have a speech fom a President who can speak with authority on many issues. He seems confident and expresses himself very well. I have cringed at the speeches for the last 8 years.

    February 24, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  20. Obama 2.0

    Jindal scored with catfish & crawdads!

    February 24, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  21. Steve B, NewYork. NY


    February 24, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  22. Sheri

    That's why he's the President of the United States? YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL RISE AGAIN, EVEN BETTER AND FOR ONCE UNITED

    February 24, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. alvino

    The right wingnuts that have called Obama an empty suit, but Jindahl, in his response, looked more like an empty jock strap.

    February 24, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |







    February 24, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. Larry

    It was a good speech ,CNN pretty much had it word for word before the speech,it did not really say anything but hooray for the USA,which is good to do,but there wasn't any information or details,that would had been nice.

    February 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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