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Obama's approval rating surges to 18-month high

President Barack Obama's approval ratings are surging. | AP Photo/Evan Vucci

When President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, he’ll be standing in front of the American people with his highest job approval rating in 18 months, according to a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News.

Fifty percent of those polled say they approve of the job Obama is doing, which is up 9 percentage points from December. Forty-four percent say they disapprove, which is down 10 percentage points since December. That marks the biggest swing he’s had in approval ratings since Osama bin Laden was killed in spring 2011.

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Much of the swing comes from millennials and Hispanics. Since December, his approval rating among millennials is up 19 percentage points, and 22 percentage points among Hispanics.

The economy is driving these changes. Three months ago just 27 percent said it was in good shape. Today 41 percent say so, the most since April 2007, before the onset of the Great Recession and its long aftermath. People who rate the economy positively are vastly more likely than others to approve of the president’s performance and the country’s direction alike.

And what about the Republican-controlled Congress? Americans are skeptical, saying they have more trust in Obama to solve the country’s biggest problems, by a 40-36 margin.

The poll was conducted among a random national sample of 1,003 adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.