72 percent of viewers had positive reaction to Biden speech: CNN flash poll

President Biden
Greg Nash
President Biden gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the description of findings regarding President Biden’s remarks about racial injustice.

More than 7 in 10 viewers of President Biden’s State of the Union address had at least a somewhat positive reaction to the speech, according to a CNN flash poll

The poll found 72 percent of watchers had a positive view of the speech, with 34 percent saying it was very positive. It reported that 28 percent of watchers viewed the speech negatively, with 10 percent saying it was very negative. 

CNN noted in a release that presidential addresses tend to attract viewers who are more supportive of the president, and those who watched overall identified as 8 points more Democratic than the general public. But that is still less leaning in favor of one party than the audience that watched Biden’s prior two addresses before Congress and several of former President Trump’s addresses.

The overall approval number for Biden’s speech is in line with the approval for previous speeches, just above the 71 percent positive review he received last year and just below the 78 percent positive review he received in 2021. 

But the percentage of people who said they had a “very positive” reaction to Biden’s speech was lower than his most recent predecessors. 

Still, 71 percent of watchers said the policies that Biden proposed in the speech would move the country in the right direction, while 29 percent said they would move it in the wrong direction. Going into the speech, only 52 percent said Biden’s policies will move the country in the right direction. 

Pollsters found the largest shift among those who do not approve of the way Biden has been handling his job. Only 7 percent of those respondents said before the speech that Biden’s policies will move the U.S. in the right direction, but 45 percent said so after. 

Just more than half of viewers said Biden struck the right balance ideologically with his proposals, while 38 percent said they were too liberal and 11 percent said they were not liberal enough. 

About two-thirds of watchers said Biden addressed racial injustice in his remarks enough but, notably, more white viewers said this than people of color, 72 percent to 58 percent. A majority of survey takers said he did not address the U.S.-China relationship or inflation enough. 

The survey was conducted by text message among 552 U.S. adults who watched the address. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.7 points.

–Updated at 1:33 p.m.

Tags Joe Biden President Joe Biden State of the Union

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