As he prepares to give his version of the State of the Union tonight, President Obama continues to hold the confidence of most Americans, even though support is dividing again along partisan fault lines.
Two new polls published today show his approval ratings in the political stratosphere, relatively speaking.
A Washington Post/ABC News survey puts his approval rating at 68 percent and says that 64 percent support the $787 billion stimulus package he championed.
A New York Times/CBS survey puts his approval rating at 63 percent and an even higher 77 percent said they are optimistic about the next four years under an Obama administration.
New findings released from a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey last week found that expectations are high for Obama's 9 p.m. address to a joint session of Congress, though not as high as they had been. In the recent survey, 28 percent said they expected the speech to be excellent and 44 percent expected it to be good. But that's down from 44 percent excellent and 41 percent good last month.
Previewing the speech, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went on the morning news shows today to say that Obama will continue focusing on the faltering economy -- what has been done so far and what more needs to be done -- and continue the balancing act between being honest about the problems yet hopeful about the future.
"What I think the President is going to do tonight, and what I think he thinks is important is, to be honest with the American people about the challenges we face and talk about what we are doing each and every day to get our economy back on track,” Gibbs said on Fox News Channel. “The notion that brighter days are ahead.”
John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, issued a statement with his expectations.
"Working people will be listening tonight for President Obama to make crystal clear that as we rebuild our nation’s economy, we will build it in a way that will work for everyone," said Sweeney, who will attend the speech as a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"President Obama’s economic recovery plan was a critical first step towards putting America back to work. Tonight, we hope to hear more about his plans to invest in infrastructure spending so we can rebuild America’s bridges and transportation systems with workers being paid a fair wage; to promote green technologies that will create good paying
jobs while also protecting our environment; and to provide universal healthcare for all Americans that will help millions of struggling families and help our economy recover.
"President Obama understands – and has said repeatedly – that our economy has become fundamentally imbalanced with too much power concentrated in the very few hands of the wealthy and corporate CEOs. It is time that America’s workers have a real voice on the job to bargain for better health care, job security, and wages without fear of harassment or intimidation.
"President Obama has shown tremendous leadership towards improving the lives of America’s workers – we look forward to hearing more tonight."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.