As I argued on Monday, the idea that Bush's speech this morning will sway voters is wrong. Research shows that presidents have little ability to shape public opinion in a non-crisis atmosphere. All the spin in the world won't change the fact that approval of wars and presidents is primarily driven by fundamentals.
Bush's historical burden is that there is no recent precedent for a leader using persuasion to reverse a steady downward slide for a military venture of the sort he is facing. Only clear evidence of success in Iraq is likely to alleviate widespread unease about the central project of this presidency, public opinion experts and political strategists say.