“Inspiring” and “uplifting”: Here’s what viewers thought of Obama’s Graduate Together speech

Jamie BallardData Journalist
May 18, 2020, 5:50 PM UTC

Former president Barack Obama has three pieces of advice for 2020 high school graduates: don’t be afraid, do what you think is right, and build a community. 

"America's gone through tough times before ... and each time we came out stronger, usually because of a new generation, young people like you, learned from past mistakes and figured out how to make things better," he said during his commencement speech at the “Graduate Together 2020” live TV event honoring the high school class of 2020. 

YouGov contacted people who said they had watched the event, and asked what they thought of Obama’s speech and other parts of the virtual ceremony. 

Most YouGov Direct users who watched Obama’s commencement address say it was great (54%) or good (24%). When asked to choose from a list of adjectives to describe the commencement address, 61 percent said it was “inspiring,” 46 percent said it was “uplifting,” and 20 percent said it was “funny.” But some said it was “weird” (9%), “corny” (8%), or “out-of-touch” (5%). 

Among those who watched the event, 54 percent said that the best speech of the night was Obama’s. Another 15 percent said LeBron James gave the best address.

Watch the full Graduate Together 2020 event: 

Methodology: YouGov Direct panelists were asked on May 15, 2020, “How likely are you to watch this [Graduate Together 2020] event live?” Panelists who said they were very likely, somewhat likely, or not very likely were re-contacted on May 16, 2020, to ask if they had watched the event. Data is based on 365 interviews with YouGov Direct users who watched the event. Results have been weighted to best represent the US population. Margin of error for this survey was 5.1%. 

Related: What these Americans think of Barack Obama’s endorsement video for Joe Biden

Image: Getty