Now that polls are filtering in after President Donald Trump's triumphal State of the Union speech, we can measure and admire the magnitude of what he has achieved. Four national polls — Rasmussen Reports, Gallup, Politico and The Hill — have been conducted since the speech. While they found Trump had an average 41 percent job approval before the speech, they now find him with a roughly 47 percent rating.
As Trump flirts with the 50 percent threshold, we can only speculate how permanent his gains might be.
We all appreciate how unpredictable the president is and how he's given to saying what he thinks regardless of political consequence. It's why we love him.
But Trump's ratings seem to be based on certain relatively stable factors:
The good economy seems to be here to stay, at least for a while. As the news sinks in and the growth in real wages and incomes filters down to the average family, we can expect Trump's ratings to continue to improve. His ratings on handling the economy are currently 8 points better than his overall job ratings and somewhat above the 50 percent mark.
It takes time for good economic news to sink in. During the Clinton era, it was not until 1996 and 1997 that the economic recovery, which gathered steam starting in 1994, began to become evident in polls.
The growing perception that the Democrats are too far to the left is taking hold, and Trump's own conduct is no longer the sole factor in public approval or disapproval of his administration. When viewed against the backdrop of a Democratic Party that wants sharply higher taxes, government medical care, drug legalization and abortion up to the moment of birth, Trump looks increasingly good.
And the Democrats are not about to modify their positions as the presidential race continues. But their growing leftism should continue to make Trump look great by comparison.
Trump is winning his argument over the border wall. His State of the Union address was decisive on this point, especially when he wrapped his wall proposal in the broader package of immigration reform. For their part, Democrats stopped arguing against the wall and instead focused on blaming the government shutdown on Trump. When the government reopened, they lamely pushed for a steel barrier rather than a concrete one, an indication of the bankruptcy of their position.
To get re-elected, Trump really only needs his approval to be in the mid-40s. The negatives that will increasingly attach to the Democratic nominee will do the rest to push Trump over 50 percent.
In all, the odds of Trump's re-election look better today than they ever have.