A first address to Congress or State of the Union speech is pretty much one where you completely control your environment and everyone is generally fairly polite in response. Some from the opposing side might not clap and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up President Donald Trump’s speech during one of his addresses. But for the most part, you have the floor without interruption.
So, in general, it’s hard not to get a positive reaction to a speech and scenario you completely control — in Biden’s case, one long delayed that ordinarily would have been in February. My colleague Jennifer Van Laar did a great look at the highlights (or should we say lowlights?) of Biden’s speech. But I wanted to hit on the immediate reaction to it from a CNN snap poll.
Now, even in a CNN poll of speech watchers, in a situation that should be overwhelmingly positive, Joe had some issues.
Only a little over half felt very positive about his speech, according to the poll, at 51%.
How does that stack up against his immediate predecessors? Not well.
View of speech watchers, per CNN poll. The speech watchers tonight overall leaned Democratic. pic.twitter.com/9VslE8ir7Z
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 29, 2021
Roughly half of viewers, 51%, fell in the “very positive” reaction category. A chart showed that is a lower figure than was recorded for former Presidents Donald Trump in 2017, Barack Obama in 2009, and George W. Bush in 2001, whose “very positive” scores in the same poll were 57%, 68%, and 66%, respectively.
That was even with the watchers who “overall leaned Democratic,” CNN’s Manu Raju admitted. Yikes.
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.
Not to mention coming in lower than President Donald Trump, who was under constant media and Democratic attack, versus the media and Democrats constantly pimping for Biden and spinning away his negatives.
Is it fair to say Grandpa Joe is simply not a very exciting speaker?
But Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who delivered the Republican response, also pointed out all the problems Biden’s policies will bring, which is part of the real reason that even some Democrats can’t be fully embracing what he’s pushing. Making everything about the far-left agenda, rather than about actual infrastructure, opening schools; falsely pushing systemic racism and further dividing the country. Scott took apart the illusions that Biden was spinning and pointed out how Biden was about everything but unity and what is best for America.