“IF YOU’VE GOT NOTHING NICE TO SAY …”
According to Northwestern University graduate students Zach Anglin and Shawn Li, positive “States of the Union” yielded higher popularity and approval ratings no matter what the national backdrop was at the time the speech was delivered.
Anglin and Li’s findings were presented at a Northwestern “hackathon,” or data mining competition in which advanced analytical tools are employed in an effort to solve complex hypotheticals.
The hypothetical Anglin and Li sought to solve was as follows …
“Is a more positive U.S. president also a more popular one?”
To answer the hypothetical, they used “a data sentiment analysis on all United States presidential State of the Union addresses.”
Interesting stuff …
For those of you keeping score at home, U.S. president Barack Obama‘s 2015 State of the Union speech attracted only 31.7 million viewers – a whopping 40 percent drop from the 52.4 million viewers who watched his 2009 address. That’s the second-lowest rated State of the Union in American history, with only Bill Clinton’s final address (in 2000) drawing fewer viewers.