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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid