We like to believe that a speech can change the world. And when a U.S. president talks, people do listen. But are they persuaded?
A Pew Research report shows that the “bully pulpit” may be overrated:
Still, we found enough cases to conclude that the speeches don’t seem to do much to move the needle on public opinion or push Congress in the president’s direction. President Ronald Reagan, for instance, was unable to convince even a plurality of Americans that the United States should provide military aid to the Contra rebels fighting Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, despite three Oval Office addresses on the issue between March 1986 and February 1988.