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Tipsheet

There's a Major Issue with Democratic Messaging on CBS Poll Showing Support for Biden's SOTU

Jabin Botsford, Pool via AP

Shortly after President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday, a poll from CBS News/YouGov revealed that a whopping 78 percent of adults who watched the speech approved of it. Naturally, the DNC War Room touted this high level of support in a press release. But, as was the case last year when Biden gave a speech similar to what a State of the Union address would be, there's more than meets the eye to this poll.

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A write-up of the poll for CBS News acknowledges that close to a majority of respondents are of the president's own party. The breakdown is 49 percent were Democrats, 28 percent were Independents, and 21 percent were Republicans.

As the poll's write-up further explains:

As we've seen with previous presidents' State of the Union speeches, those who watched tonight are more likely to be from the president's own political party, boosting approval of the speech.  

In the latest CBS national poll released earlier this week, 34% of Americans identified themselves as Democrats. Among those who watched tonight's speech, that percentage was 49%.

CBS News Poll also retweeted a response from Kabir Khanna calling out White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain "choosing fiction over science" in his message on the poll that was not only partisan, but misleading. Khanna is with CBS News Decision Desk, and is one of those involved in the write-up for CBS News.

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The write-up also notes particular criteria for respondents for this poll. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percent. Emphasis is original:

This CBS News survey is based on 1,486  interviews of adults who watched the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. An initial survey was conducted by YouGov between February 24-28, 2022, using a nationally representative sample of 10,535 U.S. adults, including 4,133 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. 

Klain certainly wishes 78 percent of voters approved of Biden's speech, especially in light of his 44-56 approval rating, according to the CBS News/YouGov poll conducted February 26-28. Further, the poll's respondents don't even include voters, as Klain claims it does, but rather U.S. adults. 

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This 44 percent approval rating is not Biden's personal low for this particular poll. That was a slightly lower but statistically identical 43 percent, from the poll in February preceding this one. However, other recent polls have shown Biden to have his personal low for that particular poll, with some even showing his approval rating in the 30s.

According to data from RealClearPolitics (RCP) for polls conducted from February 15-March 2, Biden has an approval rating of 40.9 percent and a disapproval rating of 54.1 percent. FiveThirtyEight, last updated Thursday morning, similarly has Biden at a 41.6 percent approval rating and a 52.9 percent disapproval rating. 

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