When the President of the United States summons a joint session of Congress in prime time and delivers a nationally televised speech on the key issue facing the nation and speaks well and forcefully but does not move up in the polls, he is clinically dead.
Even though 31.4 million households – more than a third of the vote – watched Barack Obama’s pseudo-State of the Union speech, he got, incredibly, almost no bounce in the polls.
There are three polls that have been released measuring Obama’s popularity in the aftermath of his address: CNN/Opinion Research, Gallup, and Rasmussen. In their polls prior to the speech these three showed an average Obama job approval of 42.3. After the speech, his approval averaged 43.6, a gain that is well within the margin of error.
Obama labored mightily and brought forth a gnat!
The conclusion is obvious: Americans have tuned the president out. His speeches have as little effect as George W. Bush’s prime time addresses about the war in Iraq or Lyndon Johnson’s about Vietnam. America has stopped listening.
During my experience working for Bill Clinton, ten point bounces were the norm for our State of the Union speeches. A one point bounce is pathetic.
This news is devastating for the president. If he cannot gain ground with a prime time TV address to a joint session of Congress, how can he hope to move up his ratings? What more can he do?