My new column at CJR warns journalists about overhyping the effects of tonight's State of the Union address on public opinion:
Tonight, President Obama will address Congress and the nation in his 2012 State of the Union address. The SOTU has become both an important civic and political ritual and a signal about the administration’s policy priorities for the coming year. However, the drama of a televised presidential speech also encourages hype by political reporters who have been taken in by the myth of the bully pulpit.
In it, I review the evidence that presidents rarely get a bounce from the speech, caution against the use of instant polls of speech watchers, and suggest other angles that might provide more insight. For more, head over to CJR and read the whole thing.