By Nicholas Fondacaro
CNN political director David Chalian reprised his State of the Union analysis from 2018 by, once again, discrediting CNN’s own poll numbers showing an overwhelmingly positive response to President Trump’s Tuesday address.
“So I just want to stress here, for a State of the Union address, the President’s partisans, his supporters tend to turn out to watch the speech. This is true of a president of either party,” he warned viewers after also noting the poll was only of people who actually watched the speech. “So tonight, we saw a heavily Republican skewed audience turn out to watch the President’s speech.”
As this author wondered last year: If you’re polling a skewed pool of respondents, then why take the poll in the first place? It’s because they like to hold up the results when it’s a Democratic president giving the State of the Union address.
Continuing on, Chalian broke down some of their findings. “A very positive reaction from those who watched the speech tonight. 59 percent very positive. 17 percent somewhat positive. 23 percent negative.”
So, between the “very positive” and “somewhat positive” reactions, Trump had a total of 76 percent of viewers saying they approved of the speech. That matched CBS News’s findings as well. It’s also an increase of six percent over last year’s address.
Speaking of last year’s number’s, Chalian also revisited those:
I want you to see that very positive number, how that compares to Donald Trump’s performances in the last couple of years when he has given a speech to a joint session of Congress like this. You’ll see that, again tonight he was again at 59 percent. He was down at 48 percent very positive a year ago. Back when he first started the job and he addressed the Congress, he was at 57 percent. So he is back up. This is a — this is a speech-watching audience that was more receptive this year than last year to what they saw.
But he failed to mention that those with a negative opinion of the address fell from 29 percent to 23 percent, another 6-point swing.
Suggesting he found bad news for Trump in the poll numbers, Chalian pointed out that “[e]ven this very favorable audience to Donald Trump does not believe his call for bipartisanship is going to meet with success.”
His proof? “A majority of speech watchers, again, a heavily Republican audience, 53 percent say no. 39 percent say yes. So all that talk of bipartisanship seems to be being met by with the people who watch the speech by a healthy dose of skepticism…”
But “will Trump increase bipartisan cooperation” was a very shallow question. Because a respondent’s answer could differ depending on who they blamed for the division. Some could believe it’s not going to increase cooperation because they thought the address was divisive. But since it’s “a heavily Republican audience”, it’s likely they believe Democrats will just be obstructionist for the sake of it. Chalian never dove that deep.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.