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Poll: Majority Feel More Optimistic After Trump's Speech

Polling indicates that President Donald Trump's first address before a joint session of Congress was well-received by a majority of those who watched it.

On Mar. 1, a poll conducted by CNN/ORC found that 57 percent of respondents felt very positive after watching Trump's address on Feb. 28.

Only those who had watched the speech were surveyed, providing the caveat that this poll measured the response of those who tuned in to watch the president speak, meaning that they may be more likely to support Trump than those who skipped the address. Overall, the pool of respondents skewed roughly 8 percentage points more Republican-leaning than a national pool, CNN reports.

The poll found that nearly seven out of 10 respondents believed that the policies Trump had outlined during his address would help steer the country in a positive direction. Roughly the same amount said that they felt more positive about the future of America after watching the address.

Breaking down the responses to specific policy initiatives, 72 percent of respondents approved of Trump's economic proposals while 70 percent believed that his approach toward terrorism was also the right direction. And 62 percent felt confident about immigration while 61 percent liked what they heard about health care.

Another 26 percent of respondents believed that Trump's address was too far-right while 8 percent said that it was not sufficiently conservative.

Comparing the data to previous surveys conducted by the same polling group, Trump's first address before a joint session of Congress scored a lower positive consensus than his two most recent predecessors, former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

In 2009, 68 percent of respondents had a very positive reaction to Obama's address. In 2001, 66 percent of respondents reacted very positively toward Bush's speech.

GOP lawmakers also gave Trump high marks for his speech. The Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, told reporters that the address marked a shift for the new commander-in-chief.

"Donald Trump did indeed become presidential tonight," McConnell said, reports Politco. "And I think we'll see that reflected in a higher approval rating."

A bump in the polls would be a welcomed relief for Trump, who so far has had the most polarizing first month of any recent president. Aggregating the results of national surveys released from Jan. 15 through Feb. 22, RealClearPolitics found that an average 42.3 percent of respondents had a favorable view of the president while an average 50.8 percent had an unfavorable view of him.

Democratic lawmakers dismissed the positive reception of Trump's address, asserting that his policies will ultimately determine his popularity.

"The tone doesn't really matter if he's not prepared to turn rhetoric into legislation," said Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York suggested that Trump had exceeded expectations because the bar was already set low.

"One speech cannot make the man," Crowley said. "And he only had to go up at that point, given how he acted at his last press conference and inaugural address."

Sources: CNN, Politico, RealClearPolitics / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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