By Eli Yokley
February 13, 2023 at 2:56 pm ET
President Joe Biden received a spate of positive headlines after his second State of the Union address, but the high-profile moment didn’t leave much of an impression on voters, according to new Morning Consult survey data.
The lack of a bump after the speech this year stands in contrast to the modest improvement Biden saw after last year’s address to Congress, which drew a larger audience than the 27.3 million people estimated by Nielsen to have tuned in on television last week.
Still, roughly 2 in 5 voters (38%) said they had seen, read or heard “a lot” about this year’s speech — higher than the 29% who said the same in March — and the kind of information the electorate took away about the president saw a slight improvement. In the latest survey, 34% said they had recently heard something positive about Biden, up from 29% the previous week, though voters are still more likely to report hearing something negative than positive about the president.
Despite that, Biden’s popularity has been generally stable since a summertime improvement ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, during which Democrats overperformed expectations despite the electorate’s disapproving views about the commander in chief.
That raises questions about how much voters’ impressions about Biden himself will matter for the Democratic Party in 2024. Democrats were able to leverage negative sentiment about Donald Trump and the Republican Party to great effect in November, coming close to maintaining their House majority and prying a Senate seat from the GOP’s grip.
A Morning Consult/Politico survey conducted after the latest State of the Union underlines the case: Comparing Biden’s speech with Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ response on behalf of the Republicans, voters were more likely to associate the president’s presentation with positive terms.
The latest surveys were conducted Feb. 10-12, 2023, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters, with unweighted margins of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley