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Do Speeches Work?

Nate Silver looks at the polls to see whether Obama's speech had any measurable impact. Rasmussen gave Obama a seven-point bump, The Washington Post-ABC poll saw a one point improvement, and CBS saw Obama's approval ratings jump 12 points. Nate averages these out for a 6.7 percent improvement, though we'll see if it lasts. Historically, these things don't. That said, the polls measure public opinion. The speech's impact on elite opinion is rather different. My sense from reporting in the past week is that it really did invigorate the players on the Democratic side, if only by providing a clean break with the dispiriting hysteria of August. The speech created space for the legislative process to restart, which was pretty much what it needed.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 15, 2009; 10:25 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Political Science  
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It would have been a cleaner break if it weren't for the disruptive hysteria that interrupted it.

Posted by: adamiani | September 15, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

According to Rasmussen daily polls, the bump is already gone. Support for HC reform is back to pre-speech levels.

Public opinion is what matters here. The public elects the elite....

Posted by: mbp3 | September 15, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Reportedly the Democrats are determined to pass this plan no matter what, so it doesn't matter what anybody thinks.

Posted by: bmull | September 15, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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