Pollster: SOTU Provides ‘Powerful Framework For Having an Election’

With Tuesday's State of the Union, President Obama did well for himself in the eyes of some swing voters.

President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night should “help him a lot” in his fight for re-election this year, according to longtime Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, citing results of a focus group of swing voters held during the speech.

The themes the president laid out during his annual televised address to a joint session of Congress cut across party lines and provide a “powerful framework for having an election,” Greenberg says in a briefing with reporters held after the president’s speech.

Reaction from 50 swing voters in Denver, Colo., show that Obama’s populist defense of the middle class and their priorities in his State of the Union scored with voters, according to Greenberg’s polling organizations, Democracy Corps and Greenberg, Quinlan and Rosner.

The president generated strong responses on energy, education and foreign policy, but most important, he made impressive gains on a range of economic measures, the pollsters say in a memo released after the news briefing.

These swing voters, even the Republicans, responded enthusiastically to his call for a “”Buffet Rule”” that would require the wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes. As one participant put it, “”I agree with his tax reform — the 1 percent should shoulder more of the burden than the other 99 percent. He [Obama] talked about being all for one, one for all — that really resonated for me.”

These reactions by voters make it very clear that defending further tax cuts for those at the top of the economic spectrum puts Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail well outside of the American mainstream, the pollsters say.

These voters overwhelmingly liked what they heard from Obama– even those who voted against him in 2008 appreciated the address, the pollsters say. But they continued to show deep skepticism that the president would be able to translate these words into actions.

The more Democratic participants mostly blamed Republican obstructionism while the more Republican participants insisted that Obama might talk a good game, but his actions in office did not reflect the words in this speech. However, participants across the political spectrum all agreed that Washington is broken and that progress on the important issues would be difficult until Congress addresses the corrupting influence of lobbyists and special interests.

This was not the easiest audience for Obama; although slightly more participants voted for him than McCain in 2008, it was a significantly Republican-leaning group (44 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic), the pollsters say.

Within the focus group, Obama’s approval rating jumped 8 points, to 58 percent. Further, his personal standing jumped 16 points, to 66 percent favorable.


Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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One Response to Pollster: SOTU Provides ‘Powerful Framework For Having an Election’

  1. doug says:

    Here is my take on the republican party and their candidates. It looks now like a two horse race. Newt and Mitt leading the pack with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum bringing up the rear.

    Ron Paul if he looked like Ronald Reagan would be a shoe in but he looks like an old guy and image is and spin is everything especially in American Politics. Rick Santorum is a nice guy, but honestly I would rather vote for his wife. She is amazing, educated, quick wit, strong willed and attractive. When you put her next to Rick it is no comparison who is the better candidate. Unfortunately she is not running and he is.
    Now the two front runners Mitt and Newt. On the names alone I would not vote for them. Newt has far to much baggage and his mouth will get him in trouble. Mitt looks like the college student who drives the BMW and belongs to all the right fraternities. Mitt even when he wears jeans looks far to separated from the normal 9 to 5 labor guy.
    Mitt looks like a G.Q. model and not a presidential candidate. The other thing that will hurt him is his Mormon faith. He has a bias towards homosexuals and he is against Gay Marriage. He says he can separate his belief system from his politics but I don’t think the American public is buying it. He will have a problem with the evangelical community because Mormonism is seen as a cult by so many in mainstream America.

    So what is the outcome? Obama gets a second term not because he deserves it or because he has done such a great job. He will get reelected because their is no horse in the republican party that can run the race. When Obama gets the charisma machine going and his social media campaign in full gear he will out image and out spin his opponents.

    One more thing, there will be more money spent on this years campaigns than most small countries have in their national budget. It will also feature more attack ads and it will be the dirtiest election ever. The gloves will come off and it will be no holds barred. This election should be broadcast on the World Wrestling Channel or the soap box channel. You cannot have a better reality t.v. show than what you will have during this upcoming election.
    It is disgusting what is spent to influence the masses. It is a system that is so flawed that anyone thinking they would like to enter into politics has to think long and hard about entering into something that is so damaged.
    So get ready the games are just starting and the main event is coming our way in a few short months and who knows what craziness is to come our way…but come our way it will. Happy voting!
    So what do you think.com