State of the Union 2020: Republicans will be watching, but not Democrats

February 03, 2020, 2:30 PM UTC

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will give a State of the Union message to Congress and the American public. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds that his public audience will likely be supporters – as most Democrats claim they will not be watching and don’t want to watch (58%).

Most Republicans plan to watch the State of the Union

This partisan nature of the State of the Union viewing audience is normal: historically, Democrats are much more interested in watching addresses by Democratic presidents than they are about watching Republican presidents speak, and vice versa. Most Independents this year also say they won’t be watching the President make his case before Congress.

Whatever the President says, it may not affect many people. State of the Union messages tend not to change minds, and this one is no exception. Just 8 percent of the public – and only 13 percent of those who say they are likely to watch – think their opinions could change because of what the President says in his speech.  Most only expect to be confirmed in their beliefs.

In last year’s State of the Union Address, President Trump made a number of promises, several of which have been kept. Congress passed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (replacing NAFTA), the President met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and legislation increased spending on HIV and childhood cancer research. 

But other longer-term proposals the President made last year are still being worked on. However, most Americans don’t remember them: just 27 percent say they recall the address very or somewhat well, though half of those who expect to watch the address (mostly Republicans) this year claim they do recall last year’s speech.

State of the Union

Democrats who plan to watch the speech this year are much less likely to say they remember much about last year’s address than either Republicans or Independents. 

Related: Should Iowa and New Hampshire be first? Democratic voters don’t think so

See the full toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov poll

Image: Getty