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President’s Speech to Congress: By the Numbers

  • VOA News

President Donald Trump gestures toward Democrats while addressing a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 28, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump loves Twitter, and his first address before a joint session of Congress proved that Twitter loves him back.

The speech Tuesday night became the most-tweeted presidential congressional speech ever, the company said.

A hit on Twitter

Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio said 3 million people tweeted about Trump’s speech, beating the previous record of 2.6 million held by former President Barack Obama for his 2015 State of the Union speech.

But Trump’s popularity on Twitter didn’t translate to actual television audience numbers. The Nielsen company, which provides media data, said Wednesday that Trump’s audience of an estimated 47.4 million people couldn’t quite match the first such speech by predecessor Obama, who drew an audience of 52.4 million in 2009.

In other first-time congressional speeches, 39.8 million people watched President George W. Bush in 2001 and 66.9 million watched Bill Clinton in 1993.

But Trump’s speech does appear to have hit its mark as far as viewers are concerned, according to early national polls.

Polls positive, too

A CBS News/You Gov poll found more than three-fourths of those who viewed the televised speech approved of it, while 82 percent thought it was “presidential.” Seventy-six percent of the viewers felt the address was “unifying,” including 36 percent of those who identified as Democrats.

The speech made about 70 percent of the viewers feel more hopeful about the country’s future, according to poll conducted by CNN/ORC. Almost two-thirds believed the president had set the right priorities.

Both polls questioned respondents who were initially contacted earlier and said they planned to watch the speech. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents to the CBS News/You Gov poll identified as Republicans while 23 percent said they were Democrats. In the CNN/ORG survey, 33 percent of those watching the speech said they were Republicans, with 23 percent identified as Democrats.

The CBS News/You Gov poll had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points, while the CNN/ORC survey’s was 4.5 percentage points.