President Obama’s speech tonight is widely seen as a preview of the themes on which he will build his re-election campaign. He is expected to call for a freeze on some federal spending, while also emphasizing the need for more investments in education, infrastructure and research.
Republicans will push back hard against his calls for more spending, but he has the wind at his back. The president is enjoying high approval ratings that Republicans can only envy.
Polls show that Obama has bounced back with independents — the key to any general election campaign. From CNN:
Several national polls released during the past week indicated Obama’s approval rating is on the upswing among voters who said they aren’t affiliated with either major political party, Politico reported.
In two polls, Obama improved his standing with independent voters by more than 10 points.
An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll indicated he had 46 percent approval among independents, an 11-point increase since December. A CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll showed a 15 percent jump for Obama among independents, to 56 percent approval.
Americans’ optimism has surged to nearly a four-year high — jumping 14 points in the past month alone, a poll released Tuesday suggests.
Forty-three percent of Americans surveyed by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation this weekend said they think things are going well in the country, up from 29 percent in December.
Levels of optimism last exceeded the current mark in April 2007, when 48 percent of Americans said they thought the country was doing well and may be a reflection of the nation’s slightly improved economic picture.
Other polls show Obama besting any of the talked-about Republican contenders for the presidency, including Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. From Public Policy Polling:
The GOP hopefuls who would make it most competitive against Obama continue to be Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, each of whom he leads by 5 points. . .
Against the other pair of GOP front runners you have to go back even further to find a time when Obama led by this much. His 12 point lead over Newt Gingrich and 17 point one over Sarah Palin is the largest he’s had against either since May of 2009 before the health care debate and the rise of the Tea Party over the summer began to plunge Obama’s numbers. We also tested Obama against Michele Bachmann and he leads her by 18 points at 51-33.
Two years is an eternity in politics, but for now, the State of Obama is strong.