Obama Approval Rating Remains Steady Following State Of The Union
"The president's 50% average for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 30, matches the prior week's rating, which was the highest weekly average for Obama since May...The speech does not, however, appear to have significantly affected Obama's job approval rating. Obama averaged 50% for the five days preceding his speech (Jan. 20-24) and 50% for the five days afterward (Jan. 26-30)," the poll showed.
Though Obama's speech was generally seen in a positive light--65 percent of those polled in a USA Today/Gallup poll said they had a positive reaction to the speech--it didn't catapult him to any new levels of approval in the public eye.
Not that that was expected.
Nate Silver, who runs the New York Times’ Five Thirty Eight blog, analyzed the overall change in presidential Gallup poll approval ratings following State of the Union addresses dating back to 1962 (with some exceptions).
Silver writes, "[T]he most common public response to the State of Union is none at all. Presidential approval has rarely moved by more than 4 points in either direction: it happened following just 9 of the 42 addresses included in the analysis, and the average change is just under 3 points...[T]o the extent that they have any effect at all, State of the Union addresses have been just as likely to hurt a president’s approval rating as to help it. The president’s standing in the Gallup poll advanced following 19 of the 42 addresses, declined following 20 of them, and remained exactly the same following 3."
The 50 percent approval ratings Obama has seen in the last two weeks of January are the highest his ratings have been since May.
"The increase in Obama's ratings late last year and early this year was coincident with the bipartisan agreement on several pieces of legislation, including the extension of tax cuts and the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and Obama's well-received speech in Tucson on Jan. 12 after the shootings there on Jan. 8," Gallup reports.
Following the speech, Allan Hoffenblum, publisher of the California Target Book, a non-partisan publication that analyzes legislative races, and a former GOP political consultant, said the president gave “his most effective performance since he was elected.”
“This is the first speech I’ve heard since he was running for president that I think he actually made an emotional impact on the audience he was talking to,” he said noting that the president was successful in not sounding like a “Harvard professor.” “[H]e could actually emote, actually have some empathy and actually articulate what most Americans wanted their president to say. I think he accomplished that.”
In other polling news, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Jan. 19 shows 56 percent of all Americans have an unfavorable view of Sarah Palin--up seven points from just before the November midterm elections. This 56 percent is a record high in disapproval ratings for the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate.
And though speculation about 2012 and Obama's possible GOP contenders is rampant, "at this early stage -- some 21 months before the election -- they have little election forecasting validity. Ronald Reagan, for example, had a low 35% approval rating in late January 1983, yet went on to win re-election handily in 1984. On the other hand, President George H.W. Bush enjoyed a job approval rating of 83% in late January 1991 as the U.S. engaged in the first Persian Gulf War, yet he was defeated in his bid for re-election the following year."