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Government shutdown: Trump State of the Union speech won’t help



President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are fighting over the exact timing of the president’s State of the Union address because of the government shutdown, but it may not make a difference either way.

Pelosi requested that Trump delay the State of the Union, scheduled for delivery to a joint session of Congress on January 29, due to security concerns during the record-breaking, ongoing government shutdown.

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Trump on Wednesday.

Pushing the speech back until after the shutdown would deprive the president of a prime-time spot during which Trump could make his case for a border wall and blast Democrats for allowing the government to remain closed. Given that dynamic, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying the agency would be ready to provide security for the event.

Read more: Nancy Pelosi suggests Trump either postpone his State of the Union address until after the government shutdown ends, or submit it in writing»

While it is unclear if the request will actually result in the speech’s delay, there’s little chance the change will make much difference.

According to an INSIDER poll, most Americans that are still undecided about Trump’s border wall and the shutdown are unlikely to watch the State of the Union anyway. So there is little chance that the platform itself will aid the president in changing the minds of many Americans.

We conducted a SurveyMonkey Audience poll on a national sample from January 15-16. We had 1,095 respondents for a margin of error of about +/-3.11%.

We asked respondents who they blamed most for the shutdown, and whether they typically watch the State of the Union address. Overall, 54% blamed the president, 17% percent blamed House Democrats, 16% did not know, 9% blamed Senate Democrats, and 5% blamed either Senate Republicans or House Republicans.

Skye Gould/Business Insider

While these numbers have been changing — and no single poll should be construed as the definitive view of who the nation holds responsible — we can use those preferences to figure out if a State of the Union address would actually reach the desired audience of persuadable and undecided Americans.

Skye Gould/Business Insider

It’s pretty clear it would not.

While the third-most common response among people who took the poll was that they didn’t know who to blame, that category of respondent was the least likely to be a regular State of the Union viewer.

Nearly half, or 48 percent, never watched the address, and a total 69% watched it rarely or never. Of the 16 percent who don’t have an opinion, only one out of 10 watch the State of the Union “usually” or “always.” It’s simply not an effective medium to reach out to the voters who may be persuaded to come to the president’s point of view.

As it stands, the government is in the 26th day of the partial shutdown and given the political dynamics of the situation, neither side seems ready to back off their position.

As the political fight continues, more and more Americans are starting to feel the burn from the shutdown. What exactly will break the logjam remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely to be any speech delivered by Trump.

Overall, 24% identified as very or somewhat conservative, 29% as very or somewhat liberal, with the rest as slightly conservative or liberal, neither conservative nor liberal, or they’d rather not say.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,095 respondents, a margin of error plus or minus 3.11 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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