SOTU Roundup: Gallup points out that presidents rarely gain in popularity from their SOTU addresses. Obama averaged a 1 percentage point gain in his first three.
Nielsen reported that the president’s audience was 33.5 million, the smallest SOTU audience of his presidency and the least-watched address since the Clinton era.
In a CNN poll conducted of 393 adults the night of the SOTU, 53% had a very positive opinion of the speech, 24% a somewhat positive opinion, 14% somewhat negative, and 8% very negative. Seventy-one percent thought the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction. Twenty-six percent thought it would take the country in the wrong direction.
Bing and Fox News conducted an instant feedback poll, where partisans could rate their reaction to the speech as positive or negative every five seconds. 12.9 million votes were counted in total. One surprise: the reactions of men and women moved surprisingly in tandem.
As for the specific issues the president discussed, here are some reactions. You don’t have to get up and applaud.
Jobs now: A CBS News poll released before the speech was titled “The Economy: A Bleak Jobs Assessment,” and the president’s speech was designed to try to allay the concerns found in the poll. Seventy-two percent said jobs in their community were difficult to find. Only 22% said there were plenty of jobs available where they lived.
The president wants to make “America a magnet for jobs.” In the new CBS poll, 41% said the jobs lost in their community in the recession would probably come back when the economy improves, but 45% said they would not. People in the Midwest, where the president will travel this week, were most pessimistic.
The deficit: The president said his plans would not add one dime to the deficit: Concern about the deficit has risen 19 percentage points in Pew’s data since 2009, so it isn’t surprising he brought the issue up this way. In a new Fox News poll of registered voters, 83% disagreed with what President Obama reportedly said about the government not having a spending problem.
Immigration: The president said, “Send me a comprehensive immigration bill and I will sign it.” Immigration attitudes have softened considerably in the past few years, with most Americans favoring a path to citizenship. In a new Fox News poll, people split evenly (43% to 41% percent) about whether border control or passing legislation to deal with immigrants here was more important.
Climate change: The president said if Congress didn’t act, he would. In both the new Pew and Fox polls, climate change ranked at the bottom of the list of issues people think are important for the president and Congress to address. Although Democrats think the issue is more important than Republicans, only 38% of them in Pew’s poll said it should be a top priority.