ABC's Gibson used polls renounced by ABC's polling director to speculate that Bush might get a "pretty good size boost" in polls due to SOTU

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

ABC's Charles Gibson said that President Bush may get a "pretty good size boost in his polls" after the State of the Union address, even though ABC News polling director Gary Langer had dismissed such polls as a highly unreliable indicator of the entire country's view of the speech because those who listen or watch the speech, by and large, support the president already.

During ABC's post-State of the Union address coverage, Charles Gibson, co-host of ABC's Good Morning America, cited "polls done in eight of the last 11 years after the State of the Union (SOTU) address, [in which] at least 75 percent of the people who responded said they approved of what they heard" to justify his claim that "maybe [the president] will get a pretty good size boost in his polls from this speech." However, as ABC News polling director Gary Langer stated in the January 31 edition of ABC News' online political news summary The Note, such after-speech polls are a highly unreliable indicator of the entire country's view of the speech because those who listen or watch the speech, by and large, support the president already.

From the January 31 edition of ABC News' The Note, quoting Langer:

"Partisans watch these things; rather than torturing themselves, people who don't like the guy can just turn to another of their 100 channels. When we polled on the SOTU in 2003, we found that the president's approval rating among speech watchers was 70 percent, versus 47 percent among those who didn't watch. As we put it at the time: 'Simply put, people who don't like a particular president are considerably less apt to tune him in.'"

Langer further noted that, due to this built-in skew and the speech's typical content of mostly "poll-tested applause lines," ABC News "ha[s]n't done immediate post-SOTU reax [reaction] polls in years (pre-war 2003 was an exception) because ... they are so dreadfully predictable."

From ABC's January 31 post-State of the Union address coverage:

GIBSON: But it is a chance, as I mentioned earlier, for the president, really, to seize the initiative, to have the podium, to lay out his agenda. And I was interested to note that polls done in eight of the last 11 years after the State of the Union address, at least 75 percent of the people who responded said they approved of what they heard. So with the president's polls as low as they are, with the president reaching out and trying to find cooperation in Washington, maybe he will get a pretty good size boost in his polls from this speech.

Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Charlie Gibson
Show/Publication
The Note
Stories/Interests
2006 State of the Union, State of the Union Addresses, Polling
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