FACT CHECK: Did A CBS News Poll Find 85% Of Americans Approved Of Biden’s Address To Congress?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims a CBS News poll found that 85 percent of Americans approved of President Joe Biden’s April 28 address to Congress.

Facebook/Screenshot

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

The CBS News survey found that 85 percent of people who watched Biden’s address – not of all Americans – approved of it.

Fact Check:

Biden on April 28 delivered his first joint address of Congress, in which he outlined, among other proposals, his new $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, ABC News reported. His speech drew an estimated 26.9 million viewers across 16 television networks, according to Nielsen data.

Some social media users have falsely claimed in posts that a CBS News poll found 85 percent of Americans approved of his joint address.

The CBS News poll actually found that 85 percent of people who watched Biden’s speech approved of it, not all Americans. The survey’s sample was “943 Adults who watched the President’s address to Congress.” Of those 943 people, 54 percent described themselves as Democrats, 18 percent described themselves as Republicans and 25 percent described themselves as Independents, according to the CBS News survey.

CBS News noted in an article about the survey that “as we’ve seen with previous presidential addresses to Congress and State of the Union speeches, those who watched tonight are more likely to be from the president’s own party.” CNN, which found in a poll conducted by SSRS that 51 percent of viewers had a “very positive” reaction to Biden’s speech and 27 percent had a “somewhat positive” reaction, also stated that the audience “was a friendly one for Biden, as is typical of presidential addresses to Congress.”

Anthony Salvanto, director of elections and surveys at CBS News, noted in a tweet about the viewer statistic that the “audience was heavily Dem, as is case with most addresses, a President’s own partisans do watch more.” During a segment on CBSN’s “Red & Blue,” he also said Biden’s speech approval rating among viewers was “typical with presidential speeches.”

“What we did was we talked to a representative sample of the audience nationwide who watched the speech and they liked what they heard,” he said, according to a transcript. “We got 85% approving of the speech. Now, I’ve got to add right off the bat here, that as is typical with presidential speeches, a lot of his own partisans made up the bulk of the audience.”

“So this audience was majority Democrats watching it. And for context back when President Trump was giving speeches a lot of Republicans watched those,” he added. (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Sign 96 Executive Orders In 100 Days?)

In 2017, a similar CBS News survey found that 76 percent of people who watched former President Donald Trump’s joint address of Congress that year approved of his speech.

The misleading claim that the CBS News survey found that 85 percent of Americans approved of the president’s speech was also spread on Twitter by users such as actor Rob Reiner and Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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