President Obama’s State of the Union address got predictably mixed reviews from pundits, but struck a chord with viewers, according to polls.
A CBS online poll conducted immediately after the president’s address found 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Obama put forth. Only 9 percent disapproved. His plans for the economy got high marks from 82 percent of those who watched the speech, up from 53 percent who approved before the speech.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 52 percent of speech watchers had a very positive reaction, with 32 percent saying they had a somewhat positive response and 15 percent with a negative response.
The quickie polls come with a few caveats: The samples were relatively small–about 500 for CBS and 475 for CNN–with margins of error of 4 to 5 percentage points. And the audience for state of the union speeches tends to be heavily weighted toward the incumbent president’s party.
And Gallup notes that state of the union addresses rarely give presidents a significant boost in public support. Since 1978, Gallup has measured only four instances when a president’s approval rating increased by 4 or more percentage points after the speech–three times for Bill Clinton and once for George W. Bush.