President Obama delivered his penultimate State of the Union with renewed confidence, eager to take credit for the economy’s recent growth spurt….
But despite the hoopla, recent polling shows that the public is much more in sync with the GOP’s agenda than the White House’s. This month’s NBC/WSJ survey illustrated a striking disconnect between the president’s improving approval rating (at 46 percent, up 2 points since November) and the top priorities of the American electorate….
That disconnect will be driving the upcoming presidential election, which will provide a decisive verdict on the sustainability of Obama’s accomplishments. Obama, as he ad-libbed in the State of the Union, couldn’t help but brag that he won two elections as proof of his mandate. The GOP also won a historic number of seats in Congress, capitalizing on public anger over his policies. Rather than move to the middle and compromise with Republicans, Obama appears intent on playing to his party’s progressive base in the run-up to the 2016 elections – and pass along that legacy to Hillary Clinton’s nascent campaign. It’s a gamble that will determine whether his landmark legislation will remain law, or be rolled back by a new Republican president.