Will the State of the Union Garner Obama More Support?

25 Jan

I think the State of the Union address was pretty much on every basic cable channel last night. With an upcoming election and a low approval rate, did President Obama rally the masses to get one step closer to winning a second term? Will his speech to the nation further his political fundraising efforts?

I can’t help but wonder at the timing of Obama’s dissertation just one day after the Republican debates. It’s obvious that the incumbent usually has the advantage over new nominees, but the back biting and mudslinging of the political party that is trying to offset the reigning elected majority never seems to bode well. While Obama was able to present a polished speech with calm reserve and his usual charisma, his opponents had to battle it out the night before with indignation, flustered comebacks and on the defensive. Does this seem fair? (And is anything “fair” in love, war, and politics?) However, I digress…

As the polarization of the two parties seems to increase, it appeared that Obama’s main strategy to gain support was to appeal to the middle class by addressing the issues concerning taxation of millionaires (a not-so-subtle jab at the recent Mitt Romney controversy) and government involvement to aid homeowners whose mortgages are upside down. These are certainly appealing issues, but will this be the net that gathers more supporters to Obama’s team?

In the Chicago Tribune Peter Hart, Democratic pollster, commented that “Obama knows he has 44% of the electorate” to start with, and in a country as divided as the U.S., “44% is a big number. He’s decided “I’m going to keep those people on board, then we’ll go after everyone else.”

David Lauter of the Washington Bureau writes in the Chicago Tribune that, “Getting the rest of the way to a majority depends on persuading a handful of crucial voters in the middle who find themselves tugged in two directions. On the one hand, voters — including those who call themselves independents — hold a deeply skeptical view of government and its ability to help them. Fewer than one-third of voters have a positive view of the size and power of the federal government.

“At the same time, pollsters have found a sharp and rapid increase in the percentage of people who doubt the Republican idea that America has no class divisions. In 2009, a majority of both Republicans and independents said they saw little if any conflict between rich and poor, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Now, more than two-thirds of Americans, including those independent voters, say they think such conflicts are ‘strong’ or ‘very strong.’”

So basically Obama, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul all are trying to win the favor of disillusioned voters. Fortunately there is still ten months ahead to turn this tide. Using social media fundraising tools and connecting with their supporters just may be the key to winning the election.

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