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Polling Nice Time: People Liked Biden's State Of The Union, They Really Liked It!
That is, those who watched it. So nerds like us.
The vast supermajority of people who watched Joe Biden's first State of the Union address last night approved of the speech, and most said it made them feel optimistic, even proud, according to a CBS News-YouGov poll taken immediately after the address. Seventy-eight percent of those who watched said they approved of what Biden said, and 22 percent disapproved. Those with no opinion were apparently kicked in the tush and sent packing.
CBS News noted that, as is normal with State of the Union speeches, the audience included more members of the president's own party than is strictly found in the wild. In polling earlier this week, 34 percent of Americans said they were Democrats, while the SOTU viewership was 49 percent Democrats. Twenty-eight percent of viewers said they were independents, and 21 percent were Republicans. (The poll didn't record whether that reply was shouted.)
In general, viewers said the vibe was good. CBS went to the trouble of making graphics, so we may as well copy 'em for you. We like this one, showing that 67 percent of viewers said the speech made them feel optimistic, 53 percent felt proud, and 32 percent felt safe. Negative emotions were rarer; if we were ambitious enough to look up reactions to any of Donald Trump's SOTU speeches, we bet the percentages for "pessimistic," "angry," and "scared" would all be higher. We are not that ambitious, however.
And once again, we want to know why the poll only offered these narrow emotional reactions. We want to know what percentage of viewers said the speech made them feel bibulous, otiose, or "mega-horny," too.
In some before-and-after polling, the survey found that viewers came away more confident that Biden would handle three major issues well. The percentage who thought Biden would effectively tackle inflation improved the most, from 48 percent before the speech to 64 percent after. Viewers also expressed more confidence on Biden's policies toward the coronavirus and Russia after watching the speech. It's worth noting that the percentage of folks who believed Biden would help control the pandemic started out high, at 70 percent before the speech, and improved to 79 percent after.
As for economic matters, 49 percent of viewers said they believed Biden's policies will help them personally, 33 percent said they thought they'd have no effect, and 17 percent said Biden's policies would hurt them. Given the amount of general rightwing anger about Biden being a socialist, that last number seems low. Maybe a lot of wingnuts figured they'd feel no effects at all because they brilliantly put all their money in Trucker Speed or Crypto. Or Crypto Trucker Speed.
The poll also showed high approval of Biden's approach to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with 71 percent saying Biden's policies will be effective in dealing with Russia. Most viewers (65 percent) said Biden's approach to Russia was about right, although a sizeable minority of 30 percent thought Biden should be tougher. Five percent thought Biden was being "too tough" on Russia, and they were all busy spamming Facebook to say so.
On the question of whether the US might be drawn into a wider war, about two-thirds (66 percent) of viewers said the speech made them feel the US would "stay out of a war in Europe," while a third (34 percent) said they thought the country would "get involved in a war, in Europe." We'd note that the poll didn't go into any detail about what kind of "involvement" that might be.
Finally, Biden's discussion of the coronavirus pandemic left a small majority (54 percent) of viewers feeling that the pandemic is "mostly behind us," while the other 46 percent said "it will be with us for a while." Knowing the utter bastard the virus has been for two years, we'll assume this means we're about to be hit with a COVID variant that inexplicably triggers human DNA to make us all as hairy as wookies, while turning a third of humanity into incorporeal beings of pure light — but not wisdom.
All this is pretty good news for Joe Biden, at least among folks who watched the speech. It reminded me a bit of what Rebecca said about two thirds of the way through her livebloog :
Joe is talking about a lot of good things, like NURSING HOMES NOT SUCKING, and CHILD TAX CREDIT and ALL THE THINGS. How can anybody not love on him? What is wrong with everybody? Are they all that fucking gullible with just believing Tucker Carlson all the time? Will this help change things? I DON'T KNOW, IT MAKES ME CRAZY!
There you go, DCCC: That's your communication strategy challenge for the midterms. People like Joe when they hear about what he's doing, so why aren't we hearing more about what he's getting done?
[ CBS News ]
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