OpinionMeister

Thursday, February 03, 2005

For What It's Worth

CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll numbers jumped 15 points among viewers of the State of the Union speech. Link.

The percentage of respondents who said the president's proposals in those areas will help the country rose 15 points from when the same question was asked of the same people in the two days before the speech.

In the post-speech sample, 70 percent of respondents said Bush's policies on health care were positive, while 66 percent approved of the president's plan for Social Security.

Bush showed almost as much improvement on Iraq, with 78 percent of respondents saying U.S. policy there is heading in the right direction, a 12 percentage point increase over pre-speech polling. Overall, 77 percent of respondents said Bush is taking the country in the right direction after the speech compared to 67 percent beforehand.

Real opinions do not change that fast. My guess is that a large majority of the sample didn't have a clue before the SOTU speech what the President's policies were on health care and Social Security. The President gave a reasonable good explanation in the speech. However, if these same people get hammered by the MSM for weeks or months about the "risks" (which are close to zero for people investing little bits at a time over decades, and taking money out the same way) without a response from the administration, the poll numbers could drop just as fast. It is vital that the President defines the terms of the debate.

As for the question on Iraq, it probably was the Iraqi election, not the SOTU speech that moved those numbers.

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