CBS News (story,
results) and CNN (story,
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.
The CBS survey, on the other hand, found the more typical
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.
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
State of the Union addresses, ultimately provided little or no "bump" in
the Presidents ratings with all adults.