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

Sunday | February 02, 2003

Did Bush get a SOTU bump?

CW is that presidents get a popularity boost after giving their annual SOTU address. So did Bush get his bump? According to the WP, his Iraq policy got a definite boost:

After the president's State of the Union speech on Tuesday in which he laid out the case for a U.S.-led invasion, the survey found that 66 percent of Americans favor taking military action against Iraq, up from 57 percent two weeks ago and the most support for war since mid-September.
I suspect that the SOTU address had something to do with this bump, with a huge assist from the subsequent daily "Powell has evidence for the US" coverage. Still, the news isn't all great:
But most Americans -- 57 percent -- would like to see Bush present more evidence before using force. Two thirds said the United States should be prepared to offer its own hard evidence to the United Nations to support an attack. And 52 percent said circumstantial evidence alone isn't enough to justify taking military action against Iraq.
In other words, the US is still pretty evenly divided on the wisdom of attacking without more evidence. The "circumstancial evidence" portion of the poll is interesting, since it seems that Bush's entire case is circumstancial:
Powell’s speech will contain “a lot of different pieces of information that add up to painting a compelling picture,” an administration official said.
Back to Bush's SOTU bump, the only other poll taken post-SOTU provided less heartening news for Bush. For the first time, the Fox News poll (which consistently gives Bush some of his highest numbers) had Bush fall under the 60 percent mark, with 59/28 approval/disapproval numbers. That is a 4-point drop since Fox's poll two weeks prior. Incidentally, I couldn't find that latest poll anywhere on FoxNews.com.

So did Bush get a bump or not? Inconclusive. We'll have to wait and see until the rest of the polls weigh in.

Incidentally, Del-Dem in the message boards links to this RNC press release that argues that there is no such thing as a SOTU bump. However, the data points provided are only for three years (Year Two of the Reagan, Bush I and Clinton presidencies), and Clinton's numbers actually went UP! Pretty lame.

Posted February 02, 2003 09:24 AM | Comments (49)


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