By Dan Froomkin
11:10 AM ET, 02/25/2009
President Obama's address to Congress was a hit in the instapolls.
"Fifty-one percent of speech watchers think the president's economic plans will help them personally. Thirty-six thought so before the speech.
"Seventy-five percent of speech watchers now say they were able to get a good understanding of President Obama's economic plans, compared to 58 percent before the speech."
Paul Steinhauser reports for CNN that "two-thirds of those who watched President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night had a very positive reaction to his speech.
"Sixty-eight percent of speech-watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey had a very positive reaction, with 24 percent indicating that they had a somewhat positive response and 8 percent indicating that they had a negative reaction....
"Eighty-two percent of speech-watchers said they support the economic plan Obama outlined in his prime time address, with 17 percent opposing the proposal.
Stan Greenberg's Democracy Corps reports on its research: "[I]In his speech to the nation tonight, Barack Obama managed to break through the partisan polarization of Washington and connect directly with American voters across the political spectrum according to dial and focus group research conducted during the speech. His speech inspired confidence in voters of all political stripes in his understanding of the challenges the country faces, as well as his agenda for the future....
"What was most striking about the reaction of these voters was the lack of polarization. In past State of the Union speeches and other major presidential addresses we have tested, voters from the opposite party of the president tend to have a knee-jerk negative reaction, generally rating his words less favorably and moving below 50 on our dial scale of 0 to 100. That was not the case with Obama's speech. Republicans rarely dropped below 50 and even exceeded 70 during parts of the President's speech.
"Most importantly, for most of the speech the dial lines for Democrats, Republicans and Independents moved in concert in a way we have rarely seen. While the partisan lines did diverge on a couple of important issues – including Obama's economic recovery plan, health care, and government regulation – they mostly showed a unified, national response in favor of the President's agenda. At times, it seemed as if Obama was deliberately speaking past his audience in the divided House chamber and offering a broader appeal to American voters hungry to move past partisan squabbling. That appeal clearly connected with these voters."