January 27th, 2010
11:44 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Half of speech watchers have very positive reaction

Washington (CNN) - Nearly half of Americans who watched President Obama's State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a poll of people who viewed the address.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 48 percent of speech watchers had a very positive reaction, with three in 10 saying they had a somewhat positive response and 21 percent with a negative response.

Full Results [PDF]

The 48 percent who indicated they had a very positive response is down 20 points from the 68 percent of speech watchers who felt the same way a year ago about the president's February 24 prime time address to a joint session of Congress.

"Wednesday night's State of the Union audience is more Democratic than the nation as a whole, but speech-watchers were less Democratic this year than they were last year," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may be one reason why the number who gave his speech a 'very positive' rating is lower this year. But part of the reason also may be that speech-watchers didn't necessarily hear a new agenda and aren't confident that the president can improve health care or lower the deficit."

Two-thirds of speech-watchers who were questioned said the president will succeed in improving the economy, with nearly six in 10 saying he'll succeed in creating jobs. But people who viewed the address were split on whether Obama will be successful in improving health care and reducing the deficit.

According to the poll, speech-watchers are split on whether the address shows that the president will change his administration's goals, with 49 percent saying the speech is proof Obama will move in a new direction, while 50 percent disagreed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted after Obama's address, with 400 adult Americans who watched the speech. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

"The poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the speech," Holland said.

The sample of speech-watchers in the poll were 38 percent Democratic and 25 percent Republican. Those numbers indicate that the sample is about four to six points more Democratic than the population as a whole. The audience for Obama's February 2009 speech was 47 percent Democratic and 21 percent Republican.

The poll also indicated that before the speech, 53 percent of people questioned said they thought Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction. That increased to 71 percent when questioned after the speech.

"All in all, Obama had a definite affect on his audience," Holland added.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Texas Liberal

    I'm proud of our President.

    January 27, 2010 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. britello-fl

    hey Cnn you forgot to ask Sara the Quitter what she thinks of the speech!

    January 27, 2010 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. Peter s

    Best speech ever! from a thoughtful business. Brilliantly done!! now deliver Mr. President!. I will never quit!!!

    January 27, 2010 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  4. Sherry

    I think he did a great job he is working hard for our country and I wonder if the democrats and republucans will wake up and start helping him instead of hindering everything he is trying to do .

    January 27, 2010 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. Judy

    The speech was full of misstatements, but hey, if you want to believe them, do so. But you should keep abreast of how what he SAYS matches with what he DOES. See if he really wants transparency as in his broken promise on healthcare and C-SPAN. Or if he really doesn't want earmarks, though he signed a bill with thousands. And how about those lobbyists? And why didn't he address Gitmo or the NY trials? And did I really hear him credit his Adm. for preventing the undiebomber at Christmas? Gimme a huge break!

    January 27, 2010 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  6. Brian Rich

    He's gone through a year of the most difficult executive decisions in recent presidential history, and you are complaining that ONLY 48 percent had a "very positive" response? You people have a hard time understanding context.

    January 27, 2010 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. JEC

    How meaningful are Instant polls? Equal to the nutritional value of a glass of kool-aid. For me, an Obama supporter who contributed hundreds to his campaign – well, tonight I removed my Obama bumper sticker. Based on his speech, he's a 20th century president in the 21st century, looking backwards into the future. Nuclear power, capital gains cuts, and a health care bill designed by the greedy for the greedy – insurance companies, he's as much a republican as he needs to be. Just better looking with a better presentation. His approval rating is sinking not because he's losing the right – he never had them. He's losing everything left of center.

    January 28, 2010 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    Since it is ALWAYS almost HALF in your polls that agree, maybe it's time to forget about the polls because the same numbers were bouncing around during President Obama's campaign.

    FACE IT – the country is SPLIT and the Independents are the ones that sways the votes back and forth..........Case and POINT!!

    January 28, 2010 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. FstEti

    Horsepuckey. Who did they poll, the SEIU membership?

    January 28, 2010 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  10. Anonymous

    This is news??

    January 28, 2010 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  11. SF Serg

    Glad to see that the majority of Americans are intelligent and not easily brainwashed by the opposition and the Tea Party idiots.

    January 28, 2010 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  12. Sue

    I heard an economist 2 weeks ago........

    In order to get unemployment back down to 5%---285,000 jobs per month-–over the next 5 years will need to be created.

    The Democrats won't even have the unemployment rate back down to 8% before the elections-–unless the media supports their cooked numbers and fuzzy math---as it is NOT mathematically possible.

    Jobs and the economy should have been the focus over one year ago--–not their leftist/liberal agendas and policies.

    January 28, 2010 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  13. Anonymous

    48% – mainly democrats????? not half

    January 28, 2010 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  14. Guest

    Wonderful job, President Obama! We're ready for the real leadership that you spoke about!!!! By the way - I've never seen the political pundits so quiet!

    January 28, 2010 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  15. Sharon

    I thought it was a very positive speech and the President called out the Republicans for bi-partisanship and the Democrats that are preparing to turn tail and quit. He told Congress to keep working on the health insurance reform. If Congress worked on one thing at a time, nothing would ever get done. They aren't even embarassed by spending hours filibustering instead of negotiating. What the tea-partyers are calling re-used rhetoric and tired promises proved that he was still on track with his original goals, though they may be hard to accomplish immediately. This was much more appealing that the gloating and braggadociao of the prior administration.

    January 28, 2010 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. Leon

    If GW Bush gave the speech the headline would have been LESS THAN HALF. CNN you're still drinking the koolaid.

    January 28, 2010 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  17. James Monroe, Wiggins, Mississippi

    Strut like a peacock and read from a telepromptor! Anyone who believes a thing Obama says after all the blatent failures to live up to his campaign promises, needs to check with me. I have a great deal for them on a condo on Mars. No doubt, this dude is a slick talker and will tell a lie cery convincingly. Who believes he is planning to do anything except tax us more and get us deeper into debt?

    January 28, 2010 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  18. Abe

    Thank you Mr. president to come in front of the American people and spell out your vision / solutions for the country. I love your hope ,vision for our country and your compassion for people facing economic, health and job problems. Your political vision , your inner vision and passion for our country I hope people saw that tonight in you. We have to learn to look at a person not only on his political standings but his inner vision and passion that guides them through rough times. The president a great speaker showed all that and people should take a lesson from it.

    January 28, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  19. Michael from Ventura

    The President was the Leader of the Nation tonight- He showed himself to be the man I've believed in since 2004. He is NOT full of "hot air" as the baggers have said tonight- he's a breath of FRESH AIR to a town who doesn't know a whole lot about that! Right on Barack!

    January 28, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. Sniffit

    Screw polls. The only true guage of who made the better speech and whether it had the intended effect is watching the bobbleheads. They think they're doing a good job of stirring the pot....be it selling their talking points or simply selling controversy to create a more "watchable" story to appease their advertising (read: corporate) masters: the ones scrambling most like their anthill got kicked are the ones who reveal that they are most afraid. Matalin said it best tonight when she stumbled, fumbled and grumbled and effectively said nothing. I feel bad for Carville...did Obama land you on the couch for the evening again?

    January 28, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. Dee

    I guess, from your headline, that HALF of the audience didn't get that thrill.

    January 28, 2010 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. phoenix86

    Watching the speech and really listening to what Obama said leaves one with only one conclusion:

    Obama is simply deranged!

    January 28, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  23. sepron bell

    come on people obama is doing a great job. and it will get better some of the american people don.t know what they want

    January 28, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  24. wally

    The Republican response was irrelevant and out of touch. If you are going to respond, listen to the President's speech first. The Republicans stand for nothing...did anyone notice that or were they alll just asleep in their chairs.

    January 28, 2010 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  25. Tomczak

    48% = half of speech writers? What is this goverment math?

    January 28, 2010 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
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