A CNN poll of viewers who watched President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress found that 51% of them had a “very positive” reaction — less than the 57% who had a “very positive” reaction to President Donald Trump’s speech in 2017.
Moreover, Biden underperformed Trump even though the audience for Wednesday night’s speech skewed Democratic.
The 51% who had a very positive reaction to Biden’s speech is a bit more muted than reaction to the first address from other recent presidents. Barack Obama had the strongest first outing of the last four presidents, with 68% saying they had a very positive reaction to his speech, and George W. Bush in 2001 earned a similar 66% very positive. Fewer — 57% — had a very positive reaction to Donald Trump’s 2017 address.
The audience of speech-watchers was a friendly one for Biden, as is typical of presidential addresses to Congress. Overall, the pool of people who watched the speech was about 13 points more Democratic than the general public and about 2 points less Republican. That tilt is similar to the partisan makeup of speech audiences for Obama’s final three State of the Union addresses.
The margin of error was 5.4%
In 2017, CNN commentator Van Jones acknowledged the power of Trump’s address, saying it was the moment he truly “became president”:
In 2017, 33% of the audience in CNN’s poll identified as Republicans, and 28% as Democrats. The 2021 poll skewed heavily Democratic — and the audience was still less enthusiastic about Biden’s speech than the audience had been in 2021 about Trump.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.