Prompted by Nate Silver’s latest thoughts on this topic, Ezra Klein asks, “Do Speeches Work?” His conclusion:

That said, the polls measure public opinion. The speech’s impact on elite opinion is rather different. My sense from reporting in the past week is that it really did invigorate the players on the Democratic side, if only by providing a clean break with the dispiriting hysteria of August. The speech created space for the legislative process to restart, which was pretty much what it needed.

Sounds like he subscribes to the it’s-not-about-(or least not all about)-the-polls theory.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.