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CBS News poll shows what viewers want to hear in Trump's State of the Union

What polls show ahead of Trump's speech
What polling data says ahead of the State of the Union address 04:09

By Jennifer De Pinto

President Trump is likely to deliver his State of the Union address to a friendly audience composed largely of his supporters. Historically, those in the president's own party have been more inclined to watch the address. In keeping with this trend, most of the potential viewers favor many of the president's policies, including his plans for immigration. Most want to hear him talk about building a border wall, although most indicate they want the president to strike a more unifying tone.  

Americans who plan to tune in to the speech are more likely to be Republicans than Democrats or independents, and most consider themselves supporters of the president (56 percent) rather than opponents (25 percent). One in five say they are something in between.

Forty-two percent of those who plan to watch the speech identify as Republicans, compared to 25 percent of Americans overall.

Most of those planning to watch Tuesday's State of the Union address consider themselves Trump supporters. CBS News

While most who say they'll watch are supporters of Mr. Trump and his policies, 65 percent say the president should try to appeal to all Americans in Tuesday's address, even those who disagree with him. Only 35 percent think he should mostly stand up for his supporters and take on his critics.

Most of those planning on watching the State of the Union want the president to appeal to those who disagree. CBS News

Americans who plan to watch Mr. Trump's speech most want to hear the president talk about national security and the economy. Nine in 10 feel it's important for him to address these issues. Seven in 10 say it's important to hear from the president about working with Congressional Democrats. Health care also ranks as a high priority.

Important for you to hear about in president's speech
(Among those who plan to watch the speech)
National security & foreign policy                 93%                                                                    
Jobs & the economy                                           92%                                      
Health care                                                          80%                                       
Working with Congressional Democrats     71%                                       
Building a wall                                                   70%                                       
Preventing another gov't shutdown              70%                                       
Climate change                                                  42%                                       
Russia investigation                                         37%                                                 

Roughly nine in 10 Republicans who plan to watch also want to hear about building a wall, while most Democrats who say they'll watch don't want to hear about that. A majority of Americans overall oppose a border wall, including most Democrats and independents. Republicans favor one.

Among those who plan to watch, majorities of both Republicans (65 percent) and Democrats (87 percent) do want to hear about preventing another government shutdown.

For most of those who plan to watch the speech, it's not as important for the president to address the issues of climate change and the Russia investigation, but most Democrats do want to hear about them.

A majority of prospective speech-watchers say the economy is in good shape — as does the public overall — and give the president at least some credit for that, but at the same time, most — 72 percent — describe the state of the union as divided, a sentiment both parties agree on.

The CBS News survey is based on 3,912 interviews of U.S. adults who plan to watch the State of the Union address on Tuesday night. The survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 9,322 U.S. residents interviewed online between Feb. 1 to 4, 2019.

Only those who plan to watch the address were included in the analysis. The initial sample of U.S. residents was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2016 presidential vote.  

The margin of error is 2.0 percent. 

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