Pollster.com

Articles and Analysis

 

State of the Union Reaction

Topics: George Bush , Instant Reaction Polls

CBS News (story, results) and CNN (story, results) both released "instant reaction" surveys of the audience viewing last night's State of the Union address. As in past years, the speech was "received favorably" by those surveyed, according to CNN. They "generally approve of the proposals he outlined" according to CBS, although "few think he will be able to accomplish the goals he set out."

As in prior years, CBS used the Knowledge Networks Internet panel to interview a random sample of 525 State of the Union viewers who told the pollsters "in recent days that they intended to watch the speech." CNN, working with its new polling partners the Opinion Research Corporation, fielded a telephone study that re-contacted "respondents first interviewed as part of a random national sample on January 19-22, 2007."

Remember that these surveys aim to measure the reaction of those who watched the speech and make no effort to gauge the reaction of the entire adult population. In previous years, speech watchers have generally included a disproportionate number of the President's admirers. In this case, the evidence is mixed. The CNN survey found fewer Republicans and more Democrats in the audience than in previous years.

1-24%20partisanship%20of%20sotu%20audience.png

The CBS survey, on the other hand, found the more typical pattern:

Americans who watched the speech were more likely to approve of the overall job President Bush is doing as president than Americans overall. 43% of speech viewers said they approved of the job President Bush is doing heading into the speech, compared to 28% of all Americans in the latest CBS News Poll.

Both found overall reactions to the speech that were generally in line with Bush's past performance, although the CNN polls showed that "Bush registered his lowest 'very positive' post-State of the Union reaction [41%] of his presidency." The CNN analysis did not examine whether the larger than usual proportion of Democrats might account for that difference.

1-24%20overall%20sotu%20reaction.png

The CBS News survey included a number of questions asked of their sample both before and after the speech, and found modest improvement among speech viewers in support for sending additional troops to Iraq, for his immigration proposals and in measures of his leadership qualities and trustworthiness. It is worth noting that last year's post-speech survey by CBS showed very similar improvements among speech viewers, but like most State of the Union addresses, ultimately provided little or no "bump" in the Presidents ratings with all adults.

 

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR