Surprise: No change in Obama's approval rating after SOTU

In a sane world, watching this guy cravenly avoid straight talk on America’s fiscal crisis in order to talk about salmon and high-speed rail would have lost him 10 points overnight. At the very least, one would think the sheer tedium of his laundry-list approach might have cost him a point or two. Nope.

Gallup Daily tracking finds no change in President Obama’s job approval rating after his State of the Union address. The president’s 50% average for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 30, matches the prior week’s rating, which was the highest weekly average for Obama since May.

Those who watched or saw coverage of the president’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25 generally gave it positive reviews. The speech does not, however, appear to have significantly affected Obama’s job approval rating. Obama averaged 50% for the five days preceding his speech (Jan. 20-24) and 50% for the five days afterward (Jan. 26-30).

The dirty little secret about SOTU speeches is that, contra conventional wisdom, they’re not reliable bounce-generators. Nate Silver crunched the numbers on this last week and graphed them out. Not only are most bounces exceedingly modest — usually two points or so, within the margin of error — but every president since JFK has delivered at least one SOTU where his numbers dropped afterward (sometimes precipitously). In fact, the only guy who saw consistent sizable bounces after his SOTUs was … Clinton, of all people, whom I remember for delivering the same sort of endless, duller-than-dull lists that The One dropped on us last week. Maybe that’s the secret to a decent post-SOTU showing — have the speech focus on all the fine policy gifts you’re preparing to leave under the public’s Christmas tree. The big difference between Clinton and Obama, of course: Clinton could afford the gifts on his list.

Exit question: Aren’t most SOTU speeches laundry lists, though?