The early reaction to President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress could hardly have been more clear: the speech was a hit with viewers.
A CBS News/YouGov poll of people who watched the address found 76 percent of viewers approved of the speech and 82 percent found it “presidential.” Seventy-one percent of viewers — and even 36 percent of Democrats — found the speech “unifying,” according to the poll. A CNN/ORC poll of speech-watchers found about 70 percent made them feel more optimistic about the direction of the country and nearly two-thirds felt Trump had the right priorities.
The CNN/ORC interviews were conducted over the phone by live interviewers, while CBS News/YouGov respondents completed the survey over the internet.
The CBS poll found 61 percent of viewers said they felt “more optimistic” about what the Trump administration will do after the speech, and many of Trump’s policy proposals, though they lacked specifics, won plaudits from viewers. Seventy percent said that, based on what they heard in the speech, they favored his plans on illegal immigration, while 75 percent favored his plans to improve the economy, 78 percent approved of his infrastructure plans and 65 percent approved of his plans for “dealing with Obamacare.”
The CNN/ORC poll found 57 percent of viewers had a “very positive” reaction to the speech, though the network noted that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush scored even higher marks in their first addresses to Congress at 68 percent and 66 percent, respectively.
Trump struck a more optimistic and less bombastic tone in the speech, and it appears to have won favor from viewers. Trump hewed closely to his prepared remarks — which were still coming together Tuesday evening — and avoided policy specifics.
Trump seemed to be reacting to the positive media reviews and viewer reaction when he took to Twitter Wednesday morning. His message was brief: “THANK YOU!”
The CBS poll included 857 people who watched the speech, with a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points. The CNN/ORC poll included 509 Americans who watched the speech and had a margin of sampling error of 4.5 percentage points.