Microsoft fired up it’s Bing Pulse tool for the second year in order to record real-time audience sentiment during Obama’s fifth SOTU speech. The online voting tool allowed viewers to share their opinions about the speech using a smartphone, PC or tablet.
This year, Microsoft is added some new functions to the tool, including an annotated graph feature that allowed viewers to click on spikes and/or dips in the real-time graphs to see the issues being addressed during the speech that have prompted major reactions.
Last years SOTU Bing Pulse registered 12.9 million votes, according to Microsoft, and this year’s should have been at least as popular so these are the broadest political polls in existence at this time. The re results are also quite interesting.
Firstly, I have to give credit where credit is due. Whatever team of writers developed Obama’s 2014 SOTU speech did a very credible job. The Overall Intensity Graph show a solid curve of interest that builds well, peaks, and drops off at the end, indicating a good denouement. The pacing of the peaks and valleys of engagement also shows a good pace to the speech.
A Telling Response
The listeners’ responses, broken out by political beliefs, is very telling indeed. There’s a huge and stark disparity between how Democrats viewed Obama’s speech and how both Republicans and Independents did so. It’s quite a dramatic difference.
Democrats held largely uniformly positive views of each of Obama’s talking points, only dipping below the 50% mark on the issues of the War on Terror and continuing to support Israel. They’ve approval didn’t waver much throughout the speech either, showing far less mean difference in approval rating and engagement from one talking to point to the next than either Republicans or Independents. For the most part, however, while differing in amplitude, Democrats showed the same peaks and valleys of approval as both Republicans and Independents.
Republicans and Independents conversely were, by and large, quite disapproving of Obama’s talking points during his speech, rising above 50% only when it came to the War on Terror and providing medical benefits to veterans. They were, in fact, both more disapproving of it than the Democrats were approving of it.
One point to make specific note of is that Republicans and Independents responded to the talking points in Obama’s 2014 SOTU speech almost identically. There was almost no statistical variation between them, whereas both differed greatly from the Democrats’ responses.
Interestingly, despite the constant contention that women have different needs and priorities than men, the responses and engagement of the respective genders was, talking point by talking point, almost identical. This largely held true even on those parts of Obama’s speech which would normally be considered “women’s issues.”