Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Obama's America: State References in SOTU Addresses

Bookmark and Share

When searching for episodic examples to bolster his policies in SOTU addresses, the president turns to the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio more than any other

barackobama10.jpgJust as the White House has its favorites states when it comes to inviting guests to sit in the First Lady's box at the State of the Union, a select number of these guests are used by the president each year to humanize some of his policy proposals and provide anecdotal color to the sometimes laundry-list delivery of the speech.

On Tuesday, evening, President Obama made eight references to specific states or cities in his fifth official address since taking office.

(Note: The data in this report excludes Washington, D.C. which is usually referenced not as a geographic 'shout-out' to the District but as an often critical shorthand for the institutions of the federal government generally).

Overall, North Carolina and its cities have received the most mentions from the president during his five State of the Union Addresses over the last half-decade with six.

Tuesday's speech was actually the first time Obama has not referenced the Tar Heel State or one of its cities, though North Carolina was represented by one guest in the balcony with the First Lady (Environmental Defense Fund Fellow Tyrone Davis of Winston-Salem).

North Carolina was mentioned by name in both Obama's 2010 and 2013 speeches, with Forsyth Tech (Winston-Salem) discussed in 2011 and Raleigh and Charlotte (twice) referenced in 2012.

Two other perennial battle ground states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are next with five mentions each, although neither was referenced Tuesday's speech.

The Ohio cities of Elyria (2010), Cincinnati (2011), Cleveland (2012), Toledo (2012), and Youngstown (2012) have been mentioned by the president along with the Pennsylvania cities of Philadelphia (2010), Allentown (2010), Scranton (2011), Berlin (2011), and Pittsburgh (2012).

Overall, 41 of the 54 references to particular states were to those won by President Obama during the previous election cycle, or 76 percent.

Next on the list are Arizona and Michigan with four; both were on the president's radar in this year's address.

Arizona was represented by five guests in the balcony alongside the First Lady including the following physician's assistant from Gilbert who Obama singled out to espouse the Affordable Care Act:

A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn't get health insurance. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would've meant bankruptcy.

Arizona leads the country with 13 guests seated in the First Lady's box over the last five years.

Michigan's call-out came in the form of Detroit (which was also mentioned twice in Obama's 2012 address):

Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make them. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center - places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job. She was flooded with new workers.

Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, and Wisconsin have been mentioned three times with Colorado twice.

The president also made references on Tuesday to Minnesota (Minneapolis), New York (New York City), Tennessee, Kentucky (twice), and Connecticut (Sandy Hook (Newtown)).

Twenty-eight states have not yet been mentioned by the president during his first five State of the Union Addresses: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: From Red to Blue
Next post: 10 Members of Congress Who Are Also TV Shows

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting