Just 39 Percent of Americans Consider State of the Union ‘Strong,’ Far Lower Than Under Trump: Poll

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
February 9, 2023Politics
Just 39 Percent of Americans Consider State of the Union ‘Strong,’ Far Lower Than Under Trump: Poll
President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 7, 2023. (Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images)

Roughly 4 in 10 American adults felt optimistic about the annual State of the Union address ahead of the joint session of Congress on Tuesday, according to a new poll.

According to a Monmouth University poll conducted in late January and published on Monday, about 32 percent of Americans said the event is “somewhat strong,” while just 7 percent called the event “very strong.”

Nearly 60 percent of participants deemed the event “not too strong” or “not at all strong.”

The number of Americans who feel optimistic about the event’s strength has steadily declined over the past five years, from 55 percent in 2018 when former President Donald Trump was in office, to 39 percent in the current poll.

The viewership for this year’s State of the Union address also saw a sharp decline, with the second-smallest audience in at least 30 years, the Nielsen company said on Wednesday.

An estimated 27.3 million people watched President Joe Biden’s speech live on television, down nearly 28 percent from the 38.2 million people who saw the address in 2022.

The only smaller audience since 1993 was the 26.9 million who watched Biden’s address to Congress in 2021—which was not officially a State of the Union address since he had just taken office a few months earlier.

Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, doesn’t have figures available from before President Bill Clinton’s first address to Congress, which reached 66.9 million people in 1993.

Most Americans Believe Country on ‘Wrong Track’

The Monmouth University poll, which surveyed 805 adults in the United States from Jan. 26 to Jan. 30, also found that nearly 60 percent of Americans feel the current government “has a negative impact on most people’s lives.” Overall, only 16 percent said Washington has “a positive impact,” while 22 percent said it has “little impact either way.”

Among those who feel the government has a negative impact, nearly 70 percent of Americans feel that Washington could shift in a positive direction and have a good impact on people’s lives. This number was similar for both Republicans and Democrats.

When respondents were asked if they believe the country was on the right or wrong track, 73 percent said it was on the wrong track. However, there was a strong partisan divide among respondents, with only 6 percent of Republicans saying the country is heading in the right direction. More than half of Democrat respondents agree with the 94 percent of Republicans who believe the country is on the wrong track.

“Fundamental faith in the American system continues to erode, even when taking into account the fact that partisan views shift depending on who occupies the White House,” said Patrick Murray, director of the polling institute.

The survey was published one day before Biden delivered his 72-minute speech on Tuesday, encouraging bi-partisanship and unity as he boasted that current numbers show that his economic plan is working, sparring with Republicans who expressed dismay over several of his claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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