News / USA

Obama Looks for Political Rebound in State of the Union

FILE - President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hil, Feb. 12, 2013.
FILE - President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hil, Feb. 12, 2013.
President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday before a joint session of Congress and tens of millions of people watching on television.  This year’s speech offers the president an opportunity to begin to turn around his sagging political fortunes.
 
2013 took a political toll on Obama.  The difficult rollout of his signature achievement, the health care reform law, was a major factor in sending his public approval to new lows.  Recent public opinion polls show the president’s job approval rating hovering around 40 percent, a weak number for an incumbent president.
 
The latest national poll from Quinnipiac University found 40 percent of those surveyed approve of the job the president is doing, compared to 54 percent who disapprove. 

Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy says the president gets negative ratings on several key issues. 

“The president remains in negative territory now on the economy, the federal budget as well as foreign policy," he said. "Registered voters in big numbers still give the president a ‘thumbs down’ on health care.”
 
It is expected that Obama will focus on economic issues in his State of the Union address.  Amid signs the U.S. economy is starting to pick up, the president will likely emphasize the need to make economic opportunity available to all Americans.
 
The administration intends to focus on the issue of income inequality in the United States leading up to the November congressional midterm elections.

A recent Congressional Budget Office study found that the wealthiest one percent of the population increased its income by 275 percent over the last 30 years.  At the time, income levels for the 60 percent of Americans in the middle class rose by just under 40 percent.
 
Brookings Institution expert Thomas Mann says Democrats hope that a focus on the economy in general and economic fairness in particular will help their candidates in November and respond to the number one priority on the minds of voters. 

“How is the economy doing?  And that is both jobs and growth and wages," he said.  "But behind that is the economic inequality and the ‘Two America’s’ issue.”
 
Opposition Republicans say the economy and creating jobs are also priorities for them in 2014.  But they are also determined to keep the spotlight on problems associated with the health care law, even though they acknowledge some earlier problems are being corrected.
 
Democrats hope that the fixes to the law are firmly established before the midterm elections.  But analyst Stuart Rothenberg expects many Republican candidates to continue to focus attacks on the Affordable Care Act as a key part of their election strategy. 

“I am skeptical it will be an asset by the time the midterms roll around," he said. "It might be an asset in five years or 10 years, but not between now and the midterms.”
 
The State of the Union offers the president his best chance to lay out an election year political agenda that includes domestic and foreign policy goals.
 
Analysts say foreign policy challenges for the president could also have an impact on this year’s elections, including efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear program as well as the continuing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida and other groups around the world.
 
Historically, the president’s party loses seats in midterm elections during a second presidential term.  Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman told VOA's Encounter program that the voting coalition of young, minority and women voters that twice helped to elect Obama president is less likely to turn out in congressional election years.

“And if their proportions go way down then the electorate could be two to three points more Republican than it was two years ago without any opinions having actually changed, and that is a real harmful prospect for Democrats across the board,” Wasserman said.
 
Most analysts favor Republicans to maintain or even increase their margin of control in the House of Representatives.  The real battle will be for control of the Senate.  Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, but many of the 35 Senate races this year take place in states where Republicans have an advantage.  Republicans need to gain six Senate seats to secure a majority.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Doug from: Canada
January 22, 2014 8:17 PM
I wonder why they even bother having these big TV production
STOU addresses for they are nothing but all show for almost nothing the President proposes is ever inacted into law. Prior to Woodrow Wilson,presidents just sent a written STOU message to congress and that was all.A simple and easy thing to do instead of the TV circus we witness every year

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs