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Face the Nation

Face the Nation

As the State of the Union nears, a telling new poll reveals both parties are on very thin ice with the American public. But an argument could be made that overall it might be slightly worse for President Biden. 

FGS Global's Government Relations experts share their outlook:

  • President Biden is getting next to zero credit for record unemployment, resilient job creation and other major legislative accomplishments like infrastructure, drug prices and clean energy.  Although this is hardly surprising given the benefits of most legislation aren't felt for years after passage, this is small comfort to Biden now. And in the meantime, it appears he is getting much of the blame for residual inflation and the the stock market drop. 

  • That said, McCarthy and Republicans can't take too much heart from the results.  Americans have even less confidence in their leadership than Biden’s. Perhaps not surprisingly, a large majority fears the consequences of a default and does not support a strategy of taking the debt limit hostage. 

  • What does this mean for the debt limit? Republicans are likely to take most of the blame in the weeks immediately leading up to and following any default, especially if they cannot control their more extreme colleagues. But if we go over the cliff, the negative economic consequences the public fears seem likely to largely go to Biden. And the president is already painfully weak on the economy as we witness the large rise in respondents saying their personal circumstances are worsening. This is a critical number for any administration.

All this could make some Republicans more willing to accept the economic and political consequences of default and Biden more interested in finding a way to a deal.  

By the Numbers

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

What are Americans saying in the leadup to the State of the Union? It’s not looking great for either party, according to a new ABC News poll:

  • There’s no confidence in Democratic or Republican leadership. Sixty-eight percent express just some or no confidence in Biden to make the right decisions for the country's future, while 71% lack confidence in McCarthy's leadership and 72% in his Republican party.

  • More Americans feel worse off since Biden took office. Forty-one percent say they've gotten worse off since Biden took office, a high in polling going back 37 years.

  • Biden is given little credit for his accomplishments. Just 36% of Americans think Biden has accomplished a great deal or a good amount as president, while 62% say he's accomplished not very much or nothing. 

    • Jobs. Despite record low unemployment, 60% say Biden has not made progress creating more good jobs in their community.

    • Infrastructure. Sixty percent say Biden has not made progress improving roads and bridges in their community.

    • Prescription drugs. Forty-seven percent say Biden has not made progress in lowering prescription drug costs, with 23% unsure. 

  • Americans want discussions of spending and the debt limit separated. In a win for Biden, 26% support Republicans' position that Congress should allow the government to pay its debts only if the administration agrees to cut federal spending. Sixty-five percent support Biden's view that the issues of debt payment and federal spending should be handled separately. Even among Republicans, fewer than half – 48% – support coupling debt payment with cuts in federal spending. That drops to 22% among independents and 10% of Democrats.

  • Ukraine support is still high but dropping. Six in 10 say the United States is doing the right amount (40%) or too little (19%, down from 37% as weapons shipments have soared). But the number who say the United States is doing "too much" to assist Ukraine has doubled from 14% last spring to 33% today.

Above the Fold

When your organization has significant news to share, it’s natural to want it featured in a top-tier outlet with a large audience.

While it’s a challenge to pitch positive, proactive stories to top-tier outlets like The New York Times, thinking about the big picture can help increase your chance of success.

Our friends at FGS Global’s Health Media Insights newsletter share some advice:

  • Top-tier reporters rarely cover one company’s proactive pitch outside of major business announcements – instead, they want to look at broader societal or industry trends with several proof points.

  • Positioning your organization’s news as evidence of a broader shift (or a notable divergence from a prevailing norm) can help a reporter see your pitch as a story they could write.  

  • In practice, this may mean specifying examples from elsewhere in your industry, including from competitors or peers.

  • While it may seem counterintuitive to highlight competitors in a pitch, top-tier reporters will look for industry examples regardless. Being the organization to make the pitch or provide an interview may help you earn a primary placement in the story.

  • If your pitch falls short: Trade outlets are critical to a successful long-term media strategy. If a mainstream outlet doesn’t bite, placing your news with a trusted trade reporter is a great way to keep your relationships warm and build a baseline of news coverage that will help keep your organization on larger outlets’ radars.

To subscribe to Health Media Insights, email

February 7, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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