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Obama wins with speech-watchers, poll says

  • Story Highlights
  • 67 percent of those polled support health care reforms outlined in speech
  • 1 in 7 who watched the speech change their minds on Obama's plan
  • Bill Clinton's poll numbers were similar after '93 health care speech
  • Percent of Democrats polled larger than percent in population as a whole
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two out of three Americans who watched President Obama's health care reform speech Wednesday night favor his health care plans, a 14-point gain among speech-watchers, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned say they had a very positive reaction to President Obama's speech.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned say they had a very positive reaction to President Obama's speech.

Sixty-seven percent of people questioned in the survey said they support the health care reform proposals Obama outlined in his address to a joint session of Congress. Twenty-nine percent opposed the proposals. Those figures are almost identical to a poll conducted immediately after Bill Clinton's health care speech before Congress in September 1993.

The audience for the speech appears to be more Democratic than the U.S. population as a whole. Because of this, the results may favor Obama simply because more Democrats than Republicans tuned into the speech. The poll surveyed the opinions of people who watched Wednesday night's speech, and does not reflect the views of all Americans. What's your reaction to Obama's speech?

About one in seven people who watched the speech changed their minds on Obama's health care plan. "Going into the speech, a bare majority of his audience -- 53 percent -- favored his proposals. Immediately after the speech, that figure rose to 67 percent," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the real question is whether those conversions will last. Bill Clinton got similar numbers after his 1993 address to Congress, but five months later a majority of the country no longer supported his plan." See full poll results (PDF)

Fifty-six percent of people questioned say they had a very positive reaction to the speech, with 21 percent indicating they had a somewhat positive reaction and an equal amount suggesting they had a negative reaction. The 56 percent who said they had a very positive reaction is lower than the 68 percent of speech watchers who had a similar reaction to the president's first address to a joint session of Congress in February.

More than seven in 10 said that Obama clearly stated his goals, with one in four saying he didn't express his goals clearly.

Three out of four said it's very or somewhat likely that the president will pass most of his proposals on health care reform through Congress, with one in four saying it's unlikely.

Seven in 10 said Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction, up 10 points from before the speech.


The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted just before and just after the president's speech, with 427 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The sample of speech-watchers in this poll was 45 percent Democratic and 18 percent Republican. The best estimate of the number of Democrats in the voting age population as a whole indicates that the sample is about 8-10 points more Democratic than the population as a whole.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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