Missed the SOTU speech, but heard it was a barn-burner. Some liberal commentators were concerned because he left nothing for the convention speech.
From what I understand, he tapped into the income inequality issue bigtime. He didn't position himself as an anti-capitalist — he just wants to make it such that everyone pays their fair share and the burdens aren't placed on the lower and middle classes. Six months ago, such a speech would have been used by the Republicans to paint Obama as a socialist, but now since the GOP candidates are talking about the same thing, that criticism is muted.
Also heard that he was no longer kowtow to the obsructionists in Congress, and maybe even made a veiled threat about going after insider trading by Congressman? Cool.
Looks like Obama polled well. I mean, really well:
According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president’s address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks. Only nine percent disapproved.
Did well with swing voters, too. Here's a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner focus group in Denver for Democracy Corps, which found voters who “overwhelmingly liked what they heard” last night.
Dial testing and follow-up focus groups with 50 swing voters in Denver, Colorado show that President Obama’s populist defense of the middle class and their priorities in his State of the Union scored with voters. The President generated strong responses on energy, education and foreign policy, but most important, he made impressive gains on a range of economic measures. These swing voters, even the Republicans, responded enthusiastically to his call for a “Buffet Rule” that would require the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. As one participant put it, “I agree with his tax reform – the 1 percent should shoulder more of the burden than the other 99 percent. He [Obama] talked about being all for one, one for all – that really resonated for me.” These dial focus groups make it very clear that defending further tax cuts for those at the top of the economic spectrum puts Republicans in Congress and on the Presidential campaign trail well outside of the American mainstream.