Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama is starting the year on a high, using his State of the Union to build momentum for his agenda and shore up his base.
"The president took advantage of his State of the Union address to give a confident and strategic speech. Confident because he listed accomplishments in the areas of energy, education, health care, and job growth. Strategic in that he put aside a broad vision and offered bite-sized nuggets for change that challenged the GOP to either join him or ignore him while he moved by executive order.
“This was not a speech aimed at building a national consensus; rather its focus was shoring his base of women, working poor, minorities, and the young -- while attempting to persuade independents that he can decide to act on his own if he has to. Risky business, to be sure, but a strong opening salvo for the 2014 campaign.
“Remember, the president doesn't need to replicate his turnout models of 2008 or 2012 to stop GOP momentum in 2014; he just needs to bring more women, nonwhites, and young out to the polls than showed up in 2010.
“Meanwhile, this week's Zogby Analytics poll has his approval at 45 percent and his average is up to 43 percent."
Grade -- A-