Tonight President Obama will command the attention of Congress, the nation and the world as he delivers his first State of the Union Address. And there is a lot at stake.
According to recent polls, President Obama’s approval rating hovers around 50%, which is a far cry from the 65% rating he enjoyed a few months ago. However, when you consider how the American people currently rate Congress’ performance—only 26% approve of the job lawmakers are doing—the president’s numbers don’t seem that bad.
Perhaps more telling, nearly two-thirds of the American people feel that the country is headed down the wrong path. Using a composite of nine reputable polls, Real Clear Politics has estimated that an average of 57% of those surveyed feel that the country is headed in the "wrong direction". People are still out of work. Health care reform is on life support. Climate change legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act, and a few other high profile issues languish due to lack of votes and political will.
President Obama will focus his address tonight on creating jobs and assisting middle class families, freezing budgets and controlling deficits, and advancing key administration priorities. He clearly has his work cut out for him, but he also has a captive audience and the biggest bully pulpit in the world from which to outline his agenda. Let’s see what he does with them.