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Obama Ties Super Bowl in Battle for Voters’ Attention

Monday, January 24, 2011

It’s a tie game when you ask voters which they are more interested in watching – President Obama’s State of the Union speech tomorrow night or the upcoming Super Bowl.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters say they’d rather watch the State of the Union address, while 43% opt for the National Football League championship game. Ten percent (10%) aren’t interested in watching either one. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Not surprisingly, there is a partisan difference. Two-out-of-three Democrats (67%) put Obama's speech first. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republicans and a plurality (45%) of voters not affiliated with either political party are more interested in the Super Bowl. In recent years, the State-of-the-Union Address has generally been delivered to a partisan audience, with those in the president’s party far more likely to watch than others.

Earlier this year, 43 million viewers watched the New York Jets upset the New England Patriots in an AFC playoff game. The president attracted approximately 31 million viewers for his speech in Tucson following the shooting tragedy in that city. Last year, more than 100 million people watched the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Approximately 48 million watched the State-of-the-Union speech in 2010.

Most Democrats believe the speech will be important for setting the nation’s agenda while most Republicans believe it is mostly for show.

As he prepares for the speech, President Obama’s Job Approval ratings  have reached the highest level of the past year.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on January 19-20, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


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