Mark Blumenthal | January 27, 2010
Topics: Barack Obama , CBS , CNN , Democracy Corps , Knowledge Networks , SOTU , Speech Reaction , Stan Greenberg , State of the Union
No, we are not doing any live-blogging tonight, though I might post a thought or two via Twitter.
Also, I will update this post later tonight with links to whatever quick reaction polls or focus groups get released.
Meanwhile, if you haven't yet, you might want to read my primer from earlier today on what to expect from post SOTU polls, plus my post from September on the widely varying methodology of the sort of quick reaction polls and focus groups we might say later tonight.
CNN's "Flash Poll" (story, results) -- CNN reported on air some results from their "flash poll" (typically conducted by re-interviewing respondents to an earlier poll that planned to watch the speech). Anchor Soledad OBrien said that, as usual, "more people who are watching the speech favor the party of the person who is giving the speech. That means, in short, more Democrats were being poll here." She did not give specific numbers, but as noted here earlier, that's a typical pattern.
The reaction was overwhelmingly positive -- 48% very positive, 30% somewhat positive, 21% negative -- although O'Brien noted that the very positive number was lower than following Obama's economic address (68% very positive) last year. It is also on the low end of the reactions recorded by Gallup during the late 90's and early 00s (see the second table here).
CNN typically posts results on CNN.com --
I'll add a link when it's up links now added.
CBS' Instant Poll (summary, report & results) - As in previous years, CBS conducted a representative online sample with Knowledge Networks among 522 speech watchers (more on the methodology here). They report that 83% of speech watchers approve of the proposals the president made in his speech tonight, but that just 42% of speech watchers think that Barack Obama will be able to accomplish all the goals he set out in his speech tonight (57% do not think he will be able to).
Greenberg reported a "very positive response," but warned that the "scale of shifts are always artificial" in a dial group because "people are watching him with such intensity." While they saw across the boards shifts in opinion on Obama, but the area with the biggest shift during the speech was on "bank reform and wall street and special interests."
The shifts there are very extraordinary. On the issue of whether he puts Wall Street ahead of the middle class, it was a 50 point shift on people saying that [doesn't describe him] well. There was a 40-point shift...on fighting special interests. On banking reform, on support, it was a 38 point shift in favor of that. And that's clearly, far and away the place where he showed the greatest strength and clarity.
I asked about the lack of State of the Union "bounces" for previous presidents, whether he has seen sustained movement on other internal measures following previous addresses and whether similar dial tests foretold any such shifts.
Greenberg said he could recall shifts in "thermometer approval" (favorable ratings) that held, specifically citing the movement for Obama following last year's joint session address on health care. With Obama's approval falling "within a band..averaging 48 or 49 percent," he considers big shifts unlikely. "Attributes are different," he said. "People who are not supportive don't feel they have to lock in, so there's more space there, and the view of the president is more complicated than just approval." Greenberg cited attitudes on Obama's orientation toward Wall Street as most likely to produce "sustained shifts" in opinion.
Democracy Corps plans to post a full report overnight or early Thursday (links now added above)..