Americans on State of the Union: Yawn

February 11, 2013

Tuesday's State of the Union address may be President Obama's most important to date, but the American people aren't all that jazzed about it.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows views of the importance of the speech are pretty much in line with Obama's previous SOTUs. About one-third (32 percent) see it as more important than previous speeches, while 43 percent say it's about the same and 15 percent say it's less important.

Those numbers are pretty much right in the middle of where they have been for the last decade, including George W. Bush's last five State of the Union speeches. (Bush's first two State of the Unions in 2002 and 2003 happened in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and as America was going to war overseas, significantly upping the ante of those speeches.)

The poll is a reminder that even as political types like The Fix get all excited about a State of the Union address, the American public is considerably less so. The State of the Union is thus more an opportunity to set the terms of the debate inside the beltway than it is to foment enthusiasm among the general public.

And even as America's problems seem bigger than ever to some, the American people don't see one speech changing much of anything.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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