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Brendan Nyhan

Brendan Nyhan

Posted: January 25, 2011 08:09 PM

In the spirit of my election night bingo post, here's a quick prebuttal to the spin you will hear from the press tonight in its coverage of President Obama's State of the Union:

  • Instant polls of people who watch the speech are meaningless (it's a non-random sample skewed toward the president's supporters, among other problems).
  • The claim that presidents get a bounce from the speech is a widely debunked myth (most don't).
  • Legislative seating may matter over the long term, but not for one night.

I'll be watching to see what media outlets hype their instant polls as evidence of a bounce.

As for commenting on the speech itself, I'll repeat what I said in 2007:

What's more tedious: the State of the Union, or SOTU blogging? I'll pass.

It's the most overcovered event in politics relative to the amount of the news that's made. Even presidential debates (which rarely matter) have unscripted moments. This is the president reading a highly vetted speech from a teleprompter.

Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com.

 

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