In early December, quite a few conservative pundits, and even a couple of congressional Republicans, floated a radical idea: President Obama should not be invited to deliver the State of the Union address.
The chatter grew loud enough that the issue came up during House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) weekly press conference on Dec. 5. Asked if he planned to extend an invitation to Obama, Boehner replied, “Listen, the more the president talks about his ideas, the more unpopular he becomes. Why would I want to deprive him of that opportunity?”
Republicans laughed; the proponents of the idea largely gave up, and the political world moved on. But a week after the president’s big speech, it’s worth pausing to ask whether Boehner was correct. The more the president talks about his ideas, does he become more unpopular?
Well, looking at Gallup tracking data, on the day of the State of the Union address, Obama’s approval rating was just a little underwater – 46% approval, 49% disapproval. As of today, those numbers are largely reversed – 50% approval, 45% disapproval.
Half of Americans approve of President Obama’s job performance for the first time in 19 months, according to a new poll released Monday. […]The Gallup survey is the latest in a series of polls showing the president’s numbers rebounding — although most show more voters disapprove than approve of the president.
Indeed, that’s a pretty significant swing, with a four-point increase in approval and a four-point decrease in disapproval over the course of just a week. What’s more, today’s Gallup numbers for the president were the best he’s seen since the summer of 2013, nearly two years ago.
“The more the president talks about his ideas, the more unpopular he becomes”? Evidently, not.
Of course, this is only one poll, and it’s entirely possible that Obama’s post-SOTU improvements will fade.
But if Republicans are still working from the assumption that the president is broadly unpopular, and the public has no use for the White House’s agenda, it may be time to reevaluate those beliefs.