February 1, 2018
In CNN “ instant polling” results, nearly half (48%) of Americans who viewed President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on January 30 said they had a “very positive” impression of the speech—down from 57% of the audience after his first address, to match Barack Obama’s rating after his first State of the Union address.
Conducted on behalf of the news network by SSRS, the poll resulted in “ the lowest net positive rating for a State of the Union address since at least 1998, when CNN first asked the question,” the researchers stated. There is no equivalent poll for addresses before 1998.
There are some important caveats, the network pointed out: This survey reflected the views of only those who watched the speech-—not of all Americans. The poll was conducted among a group of Americans who said in prior interviews that they planned to watch the speech and were willing to be contacted after its conclusion. People who choose to watch a political speech tend to be more supportive of the speaker than the general population; this sample was about 7 points more Republican than the entire American population.
A narrow majority of viewers (54%) said they think Trump has the right priorities, down from 63% from a similar poll after his speech last year to a joint session of Congress. Not quite half (45%) said he hasn’t paid attention to the country’s most important problems. Still, fully 62% of respondents said they think his policies will move the country in the right direction.
Conversely, more than 40% of viewers said they were not confident in his abilities to carry out his duties as President.
Only 56% of viewers say they think his policies are headed in the right direction on immigration—down 6 points since his 2017 speech. His proposals on other issues rated higher: Roughly 80% of respondents said he has the right direction on infrastructure and 70% said he is going the right direction on the economy.
Research contact: @ryanstruyk