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. Mike from KC

    It was an amazing speech. President Obama brought 'straight talk' to Congress, and the American people.
    He outlined the problem, and provided a very viable solution to the problem that requires the work of Congress working together, and the responsibility of the American people to do their part as well.

    It is for this reason, and others that I voted for this President. He is EXACTLY what this country needs at this time.

    February 25, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. ken from jefferson city

    I thought his speech was very eye opening it motivated me and it showed me their is a light at the end of the tunnel ,
    I think this was neccesary it showed us his plan for the nation and why
    he was taking us this way , he acted like a leader that was proud of his country no matter what anybody thinks of us and he reminded us
    that we are the world's superpower.

    February 25, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  3. Hillary B.

    I loved the president's speech. It was extremely inspiring. Absolutely, loved it, and Michelle looked beautiful.

    February 25, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  4. curtis in WI

    Can we discuss Gov. Jindal's speech?

    I listened to it on radio and it came across as a mocking campaign speech. He sounded exactly like someone telling some long-winded joke trying to work up to a punchline that never came.

    Maybe seeing him, made it come across differently, but on audio only, I was not impressed. If this is the Republican "superstar", its not looking good for 2012.

    February 25, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  5. Easton

    "Bobby Jindal who" lets be real here folks, the Republicans will never change their strips with their same old garbage rhetoric, bring smart solutions to the table to fixing these problems facing our nation . Lets just leave the "Busheconomics (mind frame) " in the trash.

    We wanted change, we have change. We had Bush, We don't want "Bobby Who"!!!

    February 25, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  6. Seen it all before

    Just goes to prove, there's a fool born every minute. Tell me what you think next year at this time when this economic porkulus package leads to Obama's depression

    February 25, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  7. brad trimble

    Obama's plan is to keep spending, with no earmarks attached. The stimulas plan already had major strings attached, the next plan already has over 9000 earmarks. The president is one the best speakers I've ever heard, but his actions don't match his words. We can't continue the outragious spending. We simply don't have the money. You have to create jobs, period. I beleive Pres. Obama is digging a really deep hole, one that we might not ever get out of.

    February 25, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |

    Mr Pres. inform the people of the USA the truth this beautiful country did not get screwed up yesterday it took over a Decade to get to this point like i always tell the members in the Gym where i teach they would come and ask me do you think i could loose this weight in 2mths now mine you they're pushing over 200lbs plus and my respond would alway be how long it took you to put all of that weight on Oh about 6yrs well dont expect to loose the weight in 2mths IMPOSSIBLE unless you want to look PRETTY in your COFFIN in other word it took time for this country to get to this point it is going to take more time to reverse this serious problem dont expect Pres,Obama to work any miracle Bklyn.NY

    February 25, 2009 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  9. virginia for obama


    HE'S THE BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!


    February 25, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  10. J.P.

    Hmm, American Idol also scores high. Co-inky-dink? Think not...

    February 25, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  11. virginia for obama




    February 25, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. Hazel

    President Obama - home run.
    Bobby Jindal – trying to find find home plate.

    February 25, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  13. Mike

    Haha, so the poll is "8-10% skewed Democratic" and the margin of error is 4%. So this poll has, potentially, 14% error. Wow CNN. I am impressed.

    So when you say 68% of those polled had a "favorable" impression, this could really mean 54% had a favorable impression. Which is about the same amount of the population that voted for him.


    Why do you report this nonsense?

    February 25, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  14. Jake

    Obama is a GREAT speaker. That is what got him elected. Unfortunately that's all he is. Barack shouldn't be President he should be press secretary.

    February 25, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  15. ben

    I believe we elected the right man!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2009 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  16. tsol ton si lla

    I need some fresh air, the air is pretty "stagnant" around here.

    February 25, 2009 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  17. Cliff

    What would you expect?
    He was in a room filled with a majority who are simply following the leader of the blind.
    Certainly, he is a fine orator. I remember, about 70 years ago, another fine orator which many people followed. Do you remember what happened to them?
    He was a true "silve tongued devil" tonight and I am sure all the libs are still clapping their hands. They better stop soon and put their hand on their wallet!

    February 25, 2009 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. Mary Newberry

    If there is to be 2 billion in cuts, why has Obama set 1 billion to go to set up a medical nightmare for all of us by tracking our illnesses with names illness and social security numbers using our medical needs for research. Medical schools should be looking at best treatments for issues like back pains, etc. Pete Stark is even quoted as agreeing we need this 15 federal employee team to research our private medical records to determine best practices. Please tell Obama he can cut another billion off his debt if he leaves a frivilous idea like tracking medical issues out.

    February 25, 2009 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  19. yonimal

    if you step back and look as an outsider, the republicans who are so vehemently opposing Obama look so stupid. Here is a great president talking about how to get the country through the recession at the same time looking ahead at how to fix the things that are wrong, a president who is asking the people to strive for better education, a president who at the same time trying to cut the huge deficit that was left by the last government, a president of the 21st century who wants to embrace clean/renewable energy...., What is wrong with these ideas???? They all seem logical and They all seem like ideas to make America better....

    February 25, 2009 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  20. Kathy in Minnesota

    President Obama's speech was one Americans needed to hear. Even I was clapping when he stressed points on the Economy, Energy, Health Care, and Education. Also, Obama put the Republicans on notice that Americans are watching what they do next.

    As for Gov. Jindal's response. What response?? If he gave a Repubican response, it was tepid at best. For Obama scored big points on the things that need to be done. Jindal bombed terribly.

    February 25, 2009 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  21. mike

    Count me in the 8 percent. His speech was pure BS.

    February 25, 2009 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  22. Wake Up Please

    Obviously Obama has inherited a MESS. Some of his solutions may be right, others less so, but there is little doubt that he is making a serious effort to address these problems.

    The reverse can not be said for the more "mentally conservative" members of the Republic party who are trotting out the same nonsense they have always said, as if people don't remember they are regurgitating the same failed ideas that largely got us in this mess.

    Most of the conservatives have been wrong about almost everything; it's time for the Republican Party to move more center – admit we need universal health care like every other civilized nation, admit we have to stop give tax cuts to the rich as if "trickle down economics" makes any sense at all, admit that oil dependence is ruining America while making on enemies stronger, and more The list of the conservative base's failed ideas is as endless as the phony rhetoric they use to spoon feed it the America's consistently gullible "Far Right".

    Please, Republicans, start listening to the people in your party that actually make sense in the 21st Century, or just leave the party all together for something better.

    February 25, 2009 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  23. E.J. in Tacoma

    Obama scored big with me love this President!!
    What kind of a speech was Gov. Jindal's??

    February 25, 2009 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  24. Daniel

    Obama did outstanding. Jindel on the other hand, well had a response as edjucated as any other Republican could give. I am sure glad he was chosen as the best the Republicans have to offer. Just imagine what Steele or Palin would have said.

    February 25, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  25. Jason

    His speech was incredible. I'm proud to have him as my president. Unlike Bush, Obama can actually deliever a successful speech. I don' think anyone is going to "misunderestimate" Obama...lol.

    February 25, 2009 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
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