State Of The Union Addresses And Presidential Job Approval

Gallup takes a look at the correlation between State of the Union addresses and Presidential job approval:

PRINCETON, NJ — U.S. presidents rarely see a spike in public support after their delivery of State of the Union addresses. Since 1978, Gallup has measured only four instances when a president’s approval rating increased by at least four percentage points after a State of the Union address, with Bill Clinton the president in three of these instances and George W. Bush in the other.


As with all State of the Union addresses, Obama’s will command the attention of the news media — if not the nation — over the next few days. That short-term increase in attention usually does not translate into increased public support for a president, perhaps because presidential addresses seem to be viewed more widely by the president’s supporters than by nonsupporters. Obama’s support is already elevated in comparison with recent weeks; this may make it less likely that his approval rating will rise after the State of the Union.

Here’s the table of all Presidents going back to Jimmy Cater in 1978:

This is somewhat counter-intuitive, and not what I would have expected.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.