President Barack Obama apparently did well in Wednesday night's State of the Union address, at least according to the polls.
For example, a CNN poll had 48 percent of those who watched saying they had a "very positive" reaction to the speech and 10 percent a "somewhat positive" reaction. Twenty-one percent had a negative reaction.
Ya gotta figure more Obama supporters than detractors watched, but probably not a whole lot more, so the 21 percent seems a reasonable negative number for what seemed to be a good speech. He could have given the Gettysburg Address and that 21 percent would still have responded negatively, so let's put all of this in persepctive. What people think about a speech is informed largely by what they think about the guy giving the speech. Predispositions are difficult to overcome, but Obama was aiming this speech not at the Limbaughites and Hannitites of the world but rather at that huge middle group of "independents" he -- the the Democrats -- so desperately need to hold onto to continue governing (and not get trounced in the 2010 elections).
In a different poll by CBS News, eight out of ten Americans approved of the proposals Obama floated in the speech. This was an "instant" poll online, so take it for what it's worth. Full text of poll results here.
Want a speech effect in what people perceive? Fifty-seven percent before the speech thought Obama shared their priorities for the country. After the speech? Seventy percent thought so. You find the same increase in agreement with, or support for, Obama among speech viewers.
Will this short-term gain hold? Usually not, but the Obama folks have to be happy with the results.