Majority of people watching the State of the Union liked the president’s speech
Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans who watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a survey of people across the country who viewed Tuesday night’s address.
But a CNN/ORC International poll also indicated that less than four in ten think the speech will lead to more bipartisan cooperation.
Fifty-three percent of speech watchers questioned in the poll had a very positive reaction, with 24% saying they had a somewhat positive response and 22% with a negative response.
“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,” noted CNN Polling Director Keating 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 393 adult Americans who watched the speech. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.
The sample of speech-watchers in the poll were 44% Democratic and 17% Republican. Those numbers indicate that the sample is about 12 points more Democratic than the population as a whole.
“The poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the speech,” added Holland.
The 53% who indicated they had a very positive response is roughly the same as the 52% of speech watchers who felt the same way two years ago about the president’s 2011 State of the Union address. Forty-eight percent of speech watchers felt the same way about the president’s 2010 State of the Union address. No CNN/ORC poll was taken after Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address because it was held during the presidential campaign season.
According to the new survey, 71% of speech watchers said the president’s policies will move the country in the right direction, with 26% saying Obama’s polices will take the nation in the wrong direction. The 71% of speech watchers who said the president’s polices will move the country in the right direction is up six points from before the speech.
In his speech, the president urged both Democrats and Republicans to “set party interests aside” to reach agreement. But only 39% said the State of the Union address will lead to more bipartisan cooperation, with 53% saying it will not lead to the two political parties reaching across the aisle.
Fifty-eight percent of those questioned said the president’s speech was better than his second inaugural address, with one in five saying that last month’s speech was the better of the two.
The president’s speech was just over an hour in length, and 81% said that was just about right, with 13% saying the address was too long and 5% saying it wasn’t long enough.
Near the end of his speech the president made an emotional plea for Congress to hold votes on controversial proposals for tougher gun laws after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings in December that killed 20 schoolchildren. Listing gun violence victims, some of whom were in the audience at the Capitol, Obama said “they deserve a vote” as the audience cheered loudly.
Seven in ten speech watchers said that the president’s gun polices would move the country in the right direction, up nine points from before the start of the address.
The president dedicated a portion of his speech to push for Congress to act on immigration reform. Just over three-fourths said Obama’s policies on immigration would move the country in the right direction, up 12 points from before the address. And 73% said the same thing about the president’s comments on the environment, up seven points from before the speech.
Nearly two-thirds said the plans Obama outlined in the address will succeed in improving the economy. Sixty-four percent said the president’s proposals will succeed in creating jobs, with six in the saying his plans will be successful in reforming the tax code and 55% saying the same thing about reducing the deficit.