The Hill

By Justin Sink – 01/19/15 08:45 AM EST

President Obama will head into Tuesday’s State of the Union with his highest job approval numbers in 18 months, according to a new poll released Monday by The Washington Post and ABC News.

Half of all Americans say they approve of the president’s handling of his job, while 44 percent disapprove. That represents a striking 9-percentage-point jump in approval from December.

More Americans say they trust Obama more than the Republican Congress to address the nation’s biggest problems, by a 40 percent-36 percent margin. That’s an 8-percentage-point swing since the election.

And 41 percent of Americans say the economy is now in “good shape,” up from 27 percent just three months ago. That’s the best economic sentiment since before the recession. The number of Americans who say the country is headed on the wrong track is down 12 percentage points from the fall.

The bounce has been driven largely by a rebound among millennials — whose support for the president has risen 19 percentage points since December — and Hispanics, who were likely encouraged by his executive action on immigration. Obama’s approval rating is up 22 percentage points among Hispanics, and 10 percentage points among Democrats.

But the president has also seen his numbers jump 11 percentage points among conservatives, and 11 percentage points among men, who tend to favor Republicans.

To read entire story, click here.e president has vowed to veto legislation changing the healthcare law’s requirement that employees working 30 hours per week should be offered health insurance by their employers.

Still, Republicans hold a 6-percentage-point advantage on encouraging economic development.

And the president lacks a broad mandate. Voters divide evenly on the question of whether they’d like to see the country go in the direction Obama or congressional Republicans prefer, and are also split on whether the president should take executive action to bypass Congress.

A majority — 56 percent — also say Congress should block the president’s plans to expand deportation relief and work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants through executive action.

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