There's More Than Meets the Eye About CBS Poll Claiming Biden's Speech Had Such Wide Support

Posted: Apr 29, 2021 9:55 PM
There's More Than Meets the Eye About CBS Poll Claiming Biden's Speech Had Such Wide Support

Source: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

You've surely heard about that CBS poll claiming President Joe Biden's joint address to Congress had an 85-15 percent approval rating, released moments after the president mercifully wrapped it up. If it seems too good to be true, that's because it is. It's so full of it, and CBS News' own report indicates as much.

As the actual numbers reveal, 54 percent of the viewers were Democrats. Only 18 percent of viewers were Republicans and 25 percent were Independents. For what it's worth, polls tend to favor including a heavy amount of independents.

While I can't blame all these Republicans who didn't watch, that's not the point here. The point is that's in no way a sample size which can produce accurate results. The report references another CBS poll, too, in which 34 percent of Americans identified as Democrats. That's just further evidence of how skewed Wednesday night's poll is. 

When it comes to "political viewpoint," the numbers are almost equally troublesome there as well. Only 19 percent of respondents are "somewhat" or "very" conservative, at 12 and 7 percent, respectively. Forty-four percent are "very" or "somewhat" liberal, at 23 and 21 percent, respectively, while 33 percent are "moderate."

Where I suppose we can take the least issue with the poll's results is how 80 percent thought they thought President Biden's speech was "bold." 

It was bold all right, bold in the kind of selective America it created, with outlandish points such as the president doubling down on how "no amendment is absolute" when it comes to gun rights, just in case you thought it was a one-time Biden gaffe. Forgetting something he ought to have learned from a civics course, and which he should especially know considering he's President of the United States, Biden claimed we live in a democracy. Uh, no, we live in a constitutional republic. Matt delves further into this in his fact-check of the speech. 

As if his repeated doubled-down remark about our Constitutional rights isn't horrifying enough, Biden leaned a bit more towards the tyrannical side when he claimed that "we the people is the government."

How did CBS get the results so quickly, anyway? According to an italicized portion included at the end of the piece:

This CBS News survey is based on 943 interviews of adults who watched the President's address to Congress on Wednesday night. An initial survey was conducted by YouGov between April 23-27, 2021 using a nationally representative sample of 10,420 U.S. adults, including 4,211 respondents who planned to watch the address. Respondents who planned to watch the speech were asked if they were willing to be reinterviewed. Only those who watched the speech were included in the analysis.

The initial sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based upon voter registration lists and the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, as well as 2020 Presidential vote. The final sample of post-speech re-interviews was weighted to be representative of those who said they would watch the President's address according to gender, age, race, education, geographic region, 2020 vote, and pre-speech partisan identification. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 pts.

Regardless of how much support the media claims the speech had, another figure makes it relatively meaningless. As Katie reported earlier today, only 22.6 million people watched the speech, according to updated figures, which may continue to be updated. For reference, President Donald Trump's State of the Union addresses drew in at least 37.2 million viewers in 2020, and even more so in previous years of his presidency, to the tune of 46.8 million in 2019, 46 million in 2018, and 48 million in 2017.