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Poll: Viewers have positive reaction to Bush speech

Story Highlights

• Poll of 370 adults finds 78 percent of speech viewers reacted positively
• 67 percent think Bush's policies will move country in right direction
• Positive numbers muted in comparison with previous years
• 51 percent confident U.S. will meet goals in Iraq, down from 71 percent in 2004
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More than three-quarters of Americans who watched President Bush's State of the Union address had a positive reaction to it, although the reaction was muted from that in past years, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Forty-one percent of 370 adults who watched the speech said they had a "very positive" reaction to it. Another 37 percent said their response was "somewhat positive." In 2006, however, the "very positive" number was 48 percent; in 2005, it was 60 percent.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted by telephone just after the speech. The sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. (Key poll results)

Of those responding, 32 percent identified themselves as Republican, 31 percent as Democrats and 36 percent as independent.

Sixty-seven percent of speech watchers said they believe Bush's policies will move the country in the right direction, the lowest total of his presidency. In 2006, the number was 68 percent; in 2005, it was 77 percent.

Meanwhile, 53 percent said they believe the speech will lead to more cooperation between Bush and the Democrats who control Congress. Forty-three percent said it will lead to more disagreements.

Among the speech viewers, 51 percent said they were very or somewhat confident that the United States will achieve its goals in Iraq. After Bush's 2004 speech, the number was 71 percent.

In his speech, Bush asked for patience with his deployment of 21,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq, which has drawn opposition from Democrats and some Republican senators. (Watch Bush address the war in Iraq Video)

Sixty-eight percent said the president's policies on health care will be very or somewhat effective -- an increase from 2006's 64 percent. Bush proposed establishing new tax breaks he said would extend health coverage to more Americans.

And 74 percent said they believed Bush's proposals on energy -- including an effort to cut U.S. gasoline consumption by 20 percent over a decade -- would be very or somewhat effective. That was a slight decrease from 75 percent in 2006. (Watch the president outline his energy proposals Video)

A poll released Monday showed 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, and 34 percent approve -- his lowest job rating on the eve of a State of the Union address.

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President Bush greets military leaders before he began his speech.

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