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Majority of SOTU viewers oppose Obama acting without Congress

Pres. Obama delivering last night's State of the Union address
Pres. Obama delivering last night's State of the Union addressAlex Wong/Getty Images

A CNN/ORC International survey, conducted after last night's State of the Union address, reveals that a majority of the speech's viewers opposed Pres. Obama's plans to act unilaterally to implement policies.

During his speech last night, Obama outlined his plan to act on his own, without legislation, whenever he could to enact policies ranging from economics to gun control.

“But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do,” the president said.

Sixty-seven percent said they think that Obama should seek comprise with Republicans in Congress before enacting policy, while 30 percent supported Obama acting without Congress.

Overall, only 44 percent had a positive reaction to the speech, down nine points from last year's State of the Union. Thirty-two percent had a somewhat positive response, and 22 percent had a negative response.

Most viewers, however, remained optimistic toward Obama's economic plans. Fifty-nine percent said that they believe the president's plans will improve the economy, though this is down six percent from last year.

“Nearly seven in 10 said it is likely that Obama's proposals would be effective at helping lower-income Americans join the middle class, but only 18% said his proposals would be 'very effective' in reaching that goal,” reports CNN.

Many of the president's critics expressed outrage at his insistance that he can act without Congress.

“I could not bear to watch as he continued to cross the clearly-defined boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers. This is a wholesale violation of his oath of office and a disqualifying offense,” said Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who walked out of the speech.

Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann threatened to sue the president.

“If he wants to move forward with this unilateral activity, he better be prepared for the lawsuit that the United States Congress will bring to him," she said. "He may think he's king, he may declare he's a king, but that's not what he is under the constitution.”