Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | January 29, 2003

Bush gets boost

We knew this would happen (it always does), but Bush's SOTU address was well received by viewers in this CBS poll.

However, some of the numbers don't jive:

Before the speech, 67 percent favored military action to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Afterward, the number grew to 77 percent.
67 percent supported war? All the latest surveys had "support" number in the low 50s. Who was polled, a group of College Republicans?

Oh, I see it now -- it was an online poll. It would be interesting to see the methodology.

That said, if support increased only 10 points amongst a group that was already disproportionately pro-war, Bush's boost may not be as big as I expected.

Then there's this Gallup poll:

Eighty-four percent of speech watchers say their overall reaction to the speech is positive, with 50% saying "very" positive. Last year, 94% said positive, with 74% very positive.
On the war question, this poll has better news for Bush:
By a margin of 67% to 30%, speech watchers say Bush has made a convincing case about the need for the United States to take military action against Iraq. Prior to the speech, this same group of Americans was about evenly divided, with just 47% saying Bush had made a convincing case for military action and 52% saying he had not.
On the economy, the reaction is more mixed. Note the comparison's with his father's mid-term numbers:
  • Speech watchers are dubious about the economic program Bush presented in his speech: 49% say the program is likely to get the country out of its current economic problems, while 43% say it will not. Last year, speech watchers were far more optimistic about Bush's economic program, with 73% expecting his program to work and just 22% saying it would not. When the elder President Bush delivered his State of the Union address in 1992, in the midst of a recession, the speech watchers then reacted in a similar way to last night's speech watchers: 47% thought the elder Bush's economic program would work, while 47% did not.

  • Most speech watchers, 61%, say their confidence in Bush's economic leadership has not changed as a result of the speech. Another 28% say they have more confidence and 10% say less confidence. In 1992, speech watchers reacted quite similarly: 32% said more confidence and 9% said less confidence, with 58% saying no change.

  • Speech watchers are much more positive about Bush's arguments for his tax cuts and the changes he has proposed for Medicare. By 67% to 23%, viewers say Bush made a convincing case for the changes in Medicare, and by 58% to 36%, they say he made a convincing case for the tax cuts.
Note that all these numbers are only amongst "speech watchers". Bush will undoubtedly get a rise in the polls, the question is how big a rise, and how long it will remain.

Update: This is good. demtom in the comments makes the following observation:

Gallup is diddling us again. Their poll last night (printed in this morning's USA Today) was, as you say, only of speech watchers, and in the fine print they offer a partisan breakdown -- 40% GOP, 31% IND, only 28% DEM. No wonder the numbers skew better for Bush. And to compare the results this group gave out for Iraq to the 47-47 division in yesterday's real poll, suggesting an overnight groundswell of new approval, is dishonest in the extreme. George Gallup must be turning in his grave.
28 percent Dem? Jeez... Both these polls are completely useless.

Posted January 29, 2003 08:48 AM | Comments (80)


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