Nearly six-in-ten Americans (58%) say they plan to watch President Obama’s speech Thursday night to a joint session of Congress about his plans to spur job growth and help the struggling national economy.
Not surprisingly, fewer plan to watch Wednesday night’s debate in California among the candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Four-in-ten (40%) say they plan to watch the debate, while 57% say they do not plan to watch. Obama originally sought time for the speech the same night as the GOP debate, but then moved it to Thursday.
The partisan differences on these questions are wide. Three-quarters of Democrats (76%) say they plan to tune in to Obama’s address, compared with 49% of Republicans and 52% of independents. On the other hand, 63% of Republicans say they plan to watch the debate, compared with 30% of Democrats and 39% of independents.
About the same number say they plan to watch Obama’s jobs speech as said they planned to watch his address to Congress in September 2009 during the debate over health care legislation. At that point, 56% said they planned to watch the prime time speech. More Democrats said they planned to watch (72%) the speech than Republicans (41%) or independents (52%).
Those with a college degree (65%) are more likely than those with some college experience (53%) or those with a high school diploma or less (56%) to say they plan to watch Obama’s jobs speech this week. On the other hand, there are no significant differences based on household income.