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Every President counts on a bounce in their poll numbers following the State of the Union address and President Obama’s State of the Union certainly delivered. According to Rasmussen Reports the President’s “approval index” number is now at (-4) with 35% strongly approving of the President and 39% strongly disapproving. Before the speech the President’s approval index was at (-19). The President’s overall support has also gone up as it is now at 49% after being at 44% before the State of the Union address.
President Obama was at a number of new lows just before his State of the Union address last Wednesday. A week earlier the Democrats had just loss their 60th vote in the Senate to Scott Brown in Massachusetts. As a result health care reform was seemingly dead as Republicans now had the ability to block any vote on a new bill. The economy was also still bleeding jobs though at a much slower rate than when the President took over. These events were reflected in the President’s poll numbers at the time.
The question now is whether the bounce will remain or fade away quickly as people once again become disillusioned. Rasmussen shows that most of the President’s bounce came from Democrats and independents. It seems that President Obama’s emphasis on jobs creation and deficit reduction in the State of the Union worked to bring some of these previous supporters back to the Obama camp. The President’s poll numbers also may have been helped by his recent question and answer session with Republicans in which many thought he took on Republican talking points forcefully and effectively.
The most important factor in keeping the current poll numbers will likely be job creation over the next year. If the new economic growth reflected in the GDP numbers begins to show up as job creation the President can hold on to his supporters who will believe the rhetoric of the State of the Union. On the other hand if unemployment stays the same or increases over the next year voters will likely forget what the President said last week and instead look for new solutions from Republicans.