State of the Union Address: Expert available to comment

Tonight U.S. President Joe Biden will deliver the annual State of the Union Address, and with the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a backdrop, it could be a defining speech of his presidency says Western University expert Matthew Lebo.

According to Lebo, it was often the case in the past that international crises would lead to a “rally around the flag effect,” where there is an increased support for the president against a common foreign enemy. However, it’s still unclear if that will be the case in the current climate. Lebo says the most telling aspect of the speech may be the response from Republicans.

“In an election year for Congress (midterms) and with partisanship ruling everything, Republican candidates and elites just can’t help themselves with attacking Biden over what’s happening in Ukraine,” says professor Lebo, Department of Political Science.

“The ability of some Republicans to support Biden is made even more difficult with former president Trump initially praising Putin’s actions.”

Lebo’s research focuses on national level politics in the United States, political parties in Congress, the presidency, and elections. He has written about the strategic decisions political parties must make to balance electoral and legislative goals. He also studies research methodology including time series analysis, micro-targeting, and election forecasting.

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.

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