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Reuters/Jim Bourg
An improvement, but let’s not overstate it.

Reality check: Trump’s joint session speech was less popular than the last two presidents’

Heather Timmons
By Heather Timmons

White House correspondent

US president Donald Trump’s address to Congress on Feb. 28 was quickly called the “high-water mark” of his presidency, for his “moderate, measured” tone and the fact that he didn’t veer wildly off script, or berate the audience.

Still, despite the adulation, a CNN/ORC poll shows his joint session speech was not as popular as the last two presidents’ in their first term. Only 57% of people surveyed had a “very positive” reaction to the speech, compared to 66% who had the same reaction to George W. Bush’s 2001 speech, for example.

The CNN sample is small—just over 500 Americans participated in the latest survey. But it’s worth noting, because it puts the new, “presidential” Trump into context: Yes, the speech was, for Trump, a big improvement. But his message is still not embraced by as many Americans as Barack Obama’s or Bush’s at this point in their presidencies.

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