Though they remain high, President Obama's approval ratings have shown and slow and steady trickle downwards. Tonight's address to Congress—which, the president admitted, was really an address to the American public—may send those poll numbers back up.Stan Greenberg, a top Democratic consultant, said that results from the polling he conducted throughout the speech indicated that it was "immensely successful."Coming into the speech, Gallup announced that by their measurement, the president's approval had dropped below 60 percent for the first time since he took office. A few major newspapers released poll results today that also hovered near that 60 percent number.But in Greenberg's group approval ratings, which began at 62 percent, had jumped 14 points by the end of the speech. Obama saw the biggest jumps in confidence in his ability to handle taxes (a 26-point jump), the budget deficit (18 points) and the Iraq war (18 points).The 50-person group was split evenly between McCain and Obama voters, making it more conservative than the nation as whole.Most striking, though, was how unpolarized these reactions were. For most of the speech, Republicans, Democrats and Independents all responded similarly. Republican approval ratings rarely dropped below 50 percent, even hitting 70 percent at some key lines.This kind of unified response to a president is something "that we've not seen before," Greenberg said.The speech made many clear policy statements, and many conservatives were chattering—and Twittering—their complaints that the speech was too partisan. But one of the biggest applause lines of the speech occured at the end: "I know everyone sitting here loves this country and wants it to succeed," Obama told the gathered congressmen.Greenberg said that these upward shifts are likely larger than what will be observed in the general public, but should give a good indication of the direction that approval will head.
Though they remain high, President Obama's approval ratings have shown and slow and steady trickle downwards.