Both of these are true. What’s also true is that State of the Union speeches almost always receive strongly favorable views, in part because viewership tends to draw disproportionately from their allies.

The 65 percent who had a positive view of the speech was actually lower than any such speech CNN has polled in the past quarter-century — the previous low being Donald Trump’s 2018 address (70 percent).

The 35 percent who gave a “very” positive review effectively tied with last year’s rating (34 percent) for the lowest on record. Following closely were Biden’s 2022 speech and George W. Bush’s 2007 speech, each receiving “very” positive marks from 41 percent of viewers.

“The 17-point shift toward the country moving in the ‘right direction’ was also unremarkable, historically speaking. Dating back to Bill Clinton’s 1998 State of the Union address, viewers have shifted an average of 15 points toward that more optimistic view,” Blake wrote.

“Now we get to the caveat, and that’s that viewers Thursday were less aligned with the president than your average State of the Union audience — potentially because we’re in a campaign year or because questions about Biden’s ability to perform drew in more people who were skeptical of him,” he continued. “That appears to explain at least part of the poorer-than-normal reviews — but not all.”

In the CNN sample, 36 percent identified as Democratic and 30 percent as Republican. Typically, members of a president’s party outnumber those of the opposite party by double digits in such surveys, he pointed out.

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Politicos have observed similarly divided audiences in the past but with stronger reviews. In Trump’s 2017 and 2018 speeches, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by just five percentage points in CNN’s sample.

Despite this, Trump received stronger reviews in those speeches compared to Biden’s on Thursday: 78 percent positive (including 57 percent “very” positive) in 2017, and 70 percent positive reviews (including 48 percent “very” positive) in 2018, Blake explained.

It’s still early, and it’s important to remain vigilant for additional data—beyond just direct reviews of the speech—that may emerge in the days and weeks ahead, he cautioned.

Basic reviews of the speech might not fully capture how people’s perceptions may have fundamentally evolved, especially regarding issues such as Biden’s acuity. Those are the numbers that truly demand our attention, he said.