Speech viewers describe Biden’s speech to Congress as presidential and caring

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
April 29, 2021, 3:05 PM UTC

On Wednesday night, President Joe Biden gave an address to a joint session of Congress where he pitched his infrastructure plan, as well as his ideas for expanding health care, family leave, and educational access for millions of Americans.

A CBS News/YouGov poll conducted after Biden’s speech found that speech viewers — a majority of whom identified as Democrats (54%) — overwhelmingly approved (85%) of his speech. Nine in ten speech viewers described the president’s words as presidential (89%) and caring (89%). Four in five watchers believed President Biden was inspiring (80%), while about three in four speech viewers also believed the speech was unifying (77%) and realistic (75%).

Three-quarters of viewers (78%) said the speech made them feel optimistic about America, while 13% watchers said the speech gave them a pessimistic impression. A similar number of viewers (74%) believe Biden’s plans will help them, as opposed to cause them harm (12%) or not impact their lives (14%). 

With Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, seated behind Biden during his address, the event marked the first time that two women were seated behind the President of the United States during a speech to a joint session of Congress. Four in five (81%) female viewers said seeing Harris and Pelosi sitting in the honorary seats made them feel proud, compared to 73% of Americans overall. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this CBS News/YouGov poll 

Related: Americans want steady politics, but expect the next four years will be unpredictable 

Methodology: This CBS News survey is based on 943 interviews of adults who watched the President's address to Congress on Wednesday night. An initial survey was conducted by YouGov between April 23-27, 2021 using a nationally representative sample of 10,420 U.S. adults, including 4,211 respondents who planned to watch the address. Respondents who planned to watch the speech were asked if they were willing to be reinterviewed. Only those who watched the speech were included in the analysis. The initial sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based upon voter registration lists and the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, as well as 2020 Presidential vote. The final sample of post-speech re-interviews was weighted to be representative of those who said they would watch the President's address according to gender, age, race, education, geographic region, 2020 vote, and pre-speech partisan identification. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 pts. 

Image: Getty