Obama’s State of the Union bounce does not appear to exist. His approval actually went down in the Rasmussen poll, stayed flat on Gallup. It was a dud. … Left spin: Not populist enough! Unfortunately, they have the basis for an argument (in that it wasn’t all that populist). …
1/29 update: Now he’s got a bit of a bounce. But why? The small-but-sharp uptick seems to start on January 27th (Gallup) or January 28th (Rasmussen). Was it due to Obama’s speech 3-4 days earlier, or the second wild GOP debate 1-2 days earlier? I have no idea. Does it really take 3 days for the news of a speech to percolate down to change voters minds? On the other hand, why should the President’s approval hinge directly on what his un-nominated potential opponents are doing on a cable news network in Jacksonville? Where is Mystery Pollster when you need him? Mystery Pollster answers: Mark Blumenthal, the pollster formerly known as MP, says
The answer is that if any of these changes turn out to be more than statistical noise, they are probably incidental to the speech. The State of the Union bounce is largely the stuff of myth.
I’m not convinced. 1) The Gallup “myth” article Blumenthal cites compares polls taken anywhere from a week to over a month apart. Usually they’re two weeks apart. You wouldn’t expect a poll taken every two weeks to pick up a bump that might last only a few days. Gallup has only been doing the sort of daily tracking poll that could capture such an ephemeral bump since late 2008, apparently. 2) There’s no bump–except when there is. In Gallup’s table, Clinton got a 10 point bump in 1998, a 6 point bump in 1996, and a 4 point bump in 1994. Why shouldn’t Obama get one of those bumps? In fact, Obama himself did get a “notable” 8 point bump in 2009–the only reason that’s not on the Gallup table is that it wasn’t officially a “State of the Union” speech. Interestingly, Obama’s 2009 bump was captured by Gallup’s new daily tracking poll in the three days following the speech–and all of Clinton’s bumps happened when the (non-tracking) poll happened to be taken three days or less after the speech. Hmm.