7-in-10 speech-watchers say Trump boosted optimism

Story highlights

  • Trump scored the highest marks for his proposed policies on the economy
  • Almost two-thirds said Trump has the right priorities for the country

(CNN)President Donald Trump's first address to Congress received largely positive reviews from viewers, with 57% who tuned in saying they had a very positive reaction to the speech, according to a new CNN/ORC poll of speech-watchers.

Nearly 7-in-10 who watched said the President's proposed policies would move the country in the right direction and almost two-thirds said the president has the right priorities for the country. Overall, about 7-in-10 said the speech made them feel more optimistic about the direction of the country.
    The survey, conducted among a group of Americans who said in interviews conducted before the speech that they planned to watch and agreed to be re-contacted, only reflects the views of those who watched the speech, not of all Americans.
    People who choose to watch a political speech such as this one tend to be more supportive of the speaker. In this case, the pool of speech-watchers was about eight points more Republican than the population as a whole.
    On specific issues, Trump scored the highest marks for his proposed policies on the economy, with 72% saying those went in the right direction. Almost as many, 70%, said the same about his terrorism proposals. Slightly fewer, but still a majority, felt his policies on taxes (64%), immigration (62%) or health care (61%) were heading in the right direction.
    Ideologically, about two-thirds saw Trump's speech as about right, while roughly on-quarter (26%) pegged it as too conservative. Just 8% said it wasn't conservative enough.
    While the 57% who said they had a very positive reaction to Trump's speech outpaces the marks received by his predecessor for any of his recent State of the Union addresses, they fell below the reviews either Barack Obama or George W. Bush received for either of their initial addresses to Congress. In 2009, 68% had a very positive reaction to Obama, while 66% gave Bush very positive reviews in 2001. Likewise, the 69% of speech-watchers who thought Trump's policies would move the nation in the right direction lagged behind the share who felt that way about Obama's or Bush's policies in the first year, and ranks around their low-marks on this score. Obama's low-mark on that score was 68% last year and his high was 88% in 2009. Bush topped out at 91% in 2002 and hit a low mark of 67% in the final year of his presidency.
    The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted February 28 among 509 Americans who watched President Trump's speech. Respondents were first interviewed as part of a random national sample conducted February 24-27. In those interviews, respondents indicated they planned to watch tonight's speech and were willing to be re-interviewed. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
    Correction: This item has been updated to correct the number of viewers who thought Trump's policies would move in the right direction.