In the United States, politics has always been a game of numbers, no matter which party controls the White House and Congress. It’s important to look at what the numbers say, but also what they don’t say. The game of numbers was in full swing on Thursday afternoon, a day after President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
During his address, the President outlined a progressive economic program followed by 18.1 million Americans. According to a survey of viewers conducted by CBS News, 85% of respondents approved, while only 15% disapproved. @CBSNewsPoll shared the result on social media.
Viewers Not Americans
By Thursday afternoon, many on social media had declared that “85% of Americans” supported President Biden, not seeming to have noticed that the poll referred to those who actually watched the speech. Many comments posted on social platforms by Biden supporters clearly suggest that they believe Democrats have a national mandate on the issues raised by the president.
Actor / Liberal activist Rob Reiner (@robreiner) certainly reinforced the view that most Americans liked what they heard, “85% of Americans approved of what President Biden had to say in his address to the nation. It’s time for Republicans in Congress, who they do nothing to get out of the way and let the majority rule. “
“85% of Americans approved of the president’s speech. The rest are planning the next uprising,” wrote social media user Rex Zane (@ rexzane1).
Progressive activist Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) shared a similar feeling, “85% of Americans approve of the agenda President Biden gave them last night. Stop obstructing the Senate and let it end.”
However, many who opposed the president’s agenda also called out the numbers. There was also no understanding that the survey applied to viewers and not all Americans.
Conservative author Juanita Broaddrick was absent and punctual: “The CBS says 85% of Americans approved of Biden’s speech. It’s complete bullshit * CBS gets 1000 Pinocchio out of a possible 4.”
Tail. Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) (R-Colo.) She was among lawmakers arguing over numbers. “So the CBS says 85% of Americans approved of Joe Biden’s speech last night. Honestly, just round it up to 100% right now. We all know it’s the ultimate cramp.”
It is not surprising that Rep. Boebert was then called out by some for her misunderstanding – which was significant in that those who supported Biden’s plan were not so educated about the numbers.
And at least a few on social media called the claim “85% of Americans” and tried to teach a mass of error.
“18.2 million Americans watched Biden’s speech last night. 85% of those people approved the speech. There are 340 million Americans. 85% of Americans approved the trend trend. That means 289 million people were approved?”, Wrote Miles Commodore ( @miles_commodore).
Kevin Parker (@Kparkour) added, “Such deliberate deception of the BS. That’s why ‘85% of Americans ‘are in trend, not ‘85% of viewers.'”
“85% of Americans who watched it goes without saying when we say 85% of Americans. People chose not to watch, including me, but let’s use traces of context,” @herforhaechan noted.
One user, @Kayokiomi, said directly that most Americans did not adjust, writing, “85% of Americans didn’t watch Joe Biden last night.”
It was pointed out, “These statistics refer to the rating of approval among Americans who watched the speech, not to the country as a whole. Although 85% of viewers approved of the speech, according to CBS News, most of those viewers were Democrats.”
Still deeply divided
Although President Joe Biden called for unity, it is unlikely that Americans will come together. As those who believed that the number 85% meant all Americans proved, there still seemed to be a belief that unity meant accepting Biden’s agenda. Likewise, those who continue to oppose Biden simply call “BS” in return.
“The country is still very polarized and this affects all perceptions of political events,” said Greg Sterling, vice president of insight into marketing SaaS firm Uberall.
“Biden’s supporters are obviously using the poll as something like cuddling an opponent,” Sterling added. “But social media reinforces and exacerbates existing divisions and has never been a medium for nuanced debates, party reconciliation or national healing.”