A CBS and YouGov poll found that 76 percent of viewers approved of Trump’s speech, versus just 24 percent who disapproved.
Breaking the approval down, 97 percent of Republicans approved of the speech, as well as 82 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats.
Asked if the speech will unite the country, 56 percent of respondents agreed.
— YouGovUS (@YouGovUS) February 6, 2019
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) February 6, 2019
One of the major themes in the president’s speech was curbing illegal immigration. Asked if they favored the ideas they heard from Trump on cracking down on immigration-related crime through building a southern border wall and other efforts, 72 percent said they did favor the ideas. Seventy-two percent of respondents said that, based on what they heard, there is a crisis at the southern border.
Respondents also approved of two major foreign policy objectives that Trump outlined. One was ending the ongoing wars in the Middle East to bring American troops home, an idea approved by 74 percent of respondents. The other, a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was approved by 78 percent of respondents.
The results were similar in a snap poll conducted by CNN, which found that 59 percent of viewers had a very positive reaction to the speech and 17 percent had a somewhat positive reaction.
“A very positive reaction from those who watched the speech tonight,” CNN Political Director David Chalian said, noting that the reaction was more positive than last year and about the same as in 2017.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 6, 2019
Trump Highlights Former Inmates
During the speech, Trump praised two former inmates that he helped release from prison before their sentences were fully served and said their experiences highlighted the need for criminal justice reform.
Matthew Charles of Tennessee, the first inmate to be released as a result of the bipartisan First Step Act, was one of the president’s guests on Feb. 5. He was originally sentenced to decades in prison for drug-related charges.
“He completed more than 30 bible studies, became a law clerk, and mentored many of his fellow inmates. Now Matthew is the very first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act,” Trump said. Charles stood and applauded as others clapped, and smiled broadly.
Alice Johnson, another former inmate, was also in the audience. Reality television star Kim Kardashian, wife of Trump supporter Kayne West, helped secure Johnson’s release.
“When I heard Alice’s story, I was deeply moved. In 1997, Alice was sentenced to prison as a first-time nonviolent drug offender. She became a prison minister, inspiring others to take a better path. She had a big impact on that prison population and far beyond. Alice’s story shows the unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing and the need to reform this injustice,” Trump said.
“In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence. When I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates … I knew I did something right. Alice is with us tonight and she is a terrific woman.” The crowd applauded Johnson, who was crying. Johnson was sitting next to Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law; both are White House advisers.