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. Obama - NOPE

    More vacuous campaign rhetoric.

    February 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  2. Kent

    And the GOP response was pathetic: more about tax cut with no substantive explanation on how that will create jobs or get us out of this mess.

    I especially liked the part where Gov Jindal tells us how the previous administration betrayed our trust, but the GOP will do better next time...

    February 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  3. DL13

    Very charismatic and well delivered. The only thing I can question on his delivery is he never looked the camera in the eye during this speech, or, any other address I have ever seen him give. To me, it is a disconnect. I have trouble believing anyone that wont look me in the eye when they are talking. They don't have to stare me down, just look at me and let me know I am there. Maybe he could take a few pointers from Leno.

    February 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  4. Kathy

    LIES LIES LIES. The man doesn't have a sole. He's a fraud.

    February 24, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  5. Amius

    It was a great speech. President Obama was encouraging, layed out his plans effectively, and summoned the American people to do their part. In this crisis, only the Federal government has the scale to deal with the problem. There is no other choice. The approaches that the Republicans cling to simply have not worked. All of this seems to have escaped the Governor from Louisiana and his Repulican allies. That bunch is simply out of touch with reality. The gap between the two speakers and the two speeches was as wide as the Grand Canyon.

    February 24, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  6. raagos


    February 24, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  7. Stan Redfern

    Great speech; a total home run for Obama. The Republicans looked very small tonight. Stan

    February 24, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  8. fearful for my country

    I left the living room television on for the dogs and they got up and came into my room when Obama came on.

    February 24, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  9. Conservative Nation

    Please, CNN, this unicorn-riding President has appointed more scandalous folks in one MONTH than Clinton did OR BUSH for their entire TERMS! The "stimulus" bill was SOOO important that exactly ZERO people elected to CONGRESS read the bill before voting for it, but OBAMA WAITED FOR HIS FOUR DAY WEEKEND TO BE OVER BEFORE SIGNING IT! What is Washington doing to America and WHY ARE YOU NOT INVESTIGATING AND REPORTING ON WHAT WE ARE GOING TO PAY FOR??? Please INFORM AMERICANS INSTEAD OF BEING BIASED!! Your ratings will SKYROCKET!!

    February 24, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. Judy Leonard

    President Obama is and will continue to be one of the greatest political leaders we have ever had. Trust me Wolf, this is the truth.

    February 24, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  11. Kathy

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The scariest part of the Presidents speech was…….Pelosi—was she having "moments" during the speech?? For a while there,I was wondering if she would be able to contain herself.
    And as far as not …messing with Biden—-O please, let;s get real

    As far as the speech—-heard it all before—he is STILL in campaign mode……its STILL l all about HIM….no matter what he says and would like us all to believe.

    It's easy to "push all the right emotional buttons" in this economy—
    While I wish him well, I believe he is setting us up for failure.

    February 24, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. far far away

    It was great....it gave me hope

    February 24, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Bet

    I appreciated his speech. He didn't gloss over our problems, and, I like being talked to as an adult capable of understanding the complex issues that we are facing at this time.

    I don't expect the road ahead will be easy. But, I do believe that we can gain some important insight into our present situation that will help us.

    For one, we have seen the destruction that greed and dishonesty can cause. We also see the need to be more frugal as a nation. We need to stop spending like there's no tomorrow, and start living responsibly and saving for that "rainy day".

    We need to rebuild our businesses in this country with American people.

    As the candidate Obama told us, "we must build from the bottom up".

    February 24, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. EC

    I found President Obama's speech very profound and to the point. For the first time I listened and watched his speech and UNDERSTOOD everything he touched on. He did not minced words and did NOT sugar coat the fact that we are in serious trouble, but we can REBUILD our country and RISE again as the most powerful country in the world!!!

    Unlike Governor Jindals "kindergarten" baseline "blame game" broken record speech. It flat lined in the first sentence.

    The fact Gov. Jindal brought up Hurricane Katrina was just the last straw when you think back on how former President Bush, Cheney, John McCain and the rest of the GOP cowards did absolutely NOTHING to help the victims during Hurricane Katrina!!!!

    It was the churches, celebrities, and dedication of the American people who RALLIED to help the victims FASTER than the Republican Party and their own President Bush!!! Cowards.

    February 25, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. Zion

    Of course the issues that Obama defined were along party lines. I enjoyed what President Obama had to say. This speech was different in the respect that he could not afford false hope, but instead he focused on sobbering realities. Gov. Jindal, thank you for the talking points from the past 8 years.

    February 25, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. soulstar


    February 25, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  17. Heidi

    I was watching MSNBC when they had the lines showing Rep and Dem response to the speech all and all they ran neck and neck for postive feed back.

    The American people are wanting to work together regardless of party line. Congress and the Seneate need to do the same.

    February 25, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. Ken Bernstein

    Face it republicants, Obama is one popular president...a president we can all be proud of....so get over it, we won you guys lost. As for all the republicant congress men who voted against the stimulus plan, when the economy rebounds you guys will be out on your azzes. Love yah Obama

    February 25, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  19. Debbe

    This problem in the United States can be solved with one phrase "Stop the Greed". If every person, every business, every corporation, every millionaire, billionaire dropped their "profit margin" by just a small percentage, prices would be lowered, jobs would be saved, money would be spent and the economy would be righted. Yes, maybe naive thinking.....but the truth is.....greed has gotten us where we are today, and getting rid of the greed is the way to solve it. I am doing my part by not participating in any business be it grocery or retail that embraces the greed philosophy and I am living within my means through sacrifice and hard work. I challenge all to do the same and stop pointing the finger. Self Responsibility and TRUTH!

    February 25, 2009 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  20. Janet-NY

    Please CNN, I can't find an official response of GOP.

    February 25, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  21. common sense

    Despite what the critics will say, it is very nice to have someone embracing being President, in a 'Presidential way'. Quite refreshing.

    February 25, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  22. Louisiana gal..

    but what about Jindal? There isn't a single thing here on CNN about Jindal's speech.

    Actually, I don't mind because his response was real fake and it made me feel pity for the Republican party. They seem so pathetic now.

    All in all, CNN is probably doing him a kindness by not mentioning the speech here on the ticker...

    February 25, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  23. B.Efreom

    So predictable and in the tank as usual for you loony leftists. As for "news" ,meaning information, I read the speech. After that, I read Governor Jindals remarks. Makes a big difference not reading CNN and other mainstream leftist blowhards first. As for your "polling" , pure unadulturated bs! Pathetic excuse for analysis. Oh, those are the best things I can say about you.

    February 25, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. Eric

    President Obama is my hero. He motivated me to do my homewrok tonight. I'm a junior engineering student at the University of South Florida. I thought about dropping out of school. This last year has been really stressful. I almost lost my house and I had to stop driving because I couldn't afford gas and insurance. Catching the city bus to school and work and trying to pay bills can get hectic .I got my loan re-modified to three percent and that payroll tax reduction might be enough for me to drive again. I am so excited! I might be able to drive again which would save me so much time and allow me to study again because sometimes I really don't have time to. Thank you Mr. Obama you are an inspiration .Obama4Life!

    February 25, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  25. Wolf-Woman Palin Charlotte, NC

    As for the "opposition" speech by Jindal... I think Palin just went back to the top of the ticket.
    I felt like a patient seeing a doctor and having the doctor say, "I know the treatment for the last eight years has about killed you, but I have nothing new to offer. Just the same old things. Don't look to me for hope; and by the way, don't pay any attention to that new guy offering new treatments, new ideas and hope."
    The Republicans are falling off a cliff and don't seem to know it.

    February 25, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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