As President Obama prepares to address a joint session of Congress tonight, public opinion appears to be with him.

Americans in large majorities support the president’s $787 billion economic stimulus package and the $75 billion plan to stem mortgage foreclosures, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly 70 percent said Obama is delivering on his pledge to bring needed change to Washington, and about eight in 10 said he is meeting or exceeding their expectations, according to the Post. However, the bipartisan support he enjoyed as he prepared to take office has eroded substantially.

In his speech tonight, Obama is “expected to outline his agenda for making health care more accessible and bolstering support for alternative energy, while explaining how he envisions his actions will lift the nation’s economy,” the Post reports today. He also is expected to shift focus from spending to his pledge to slash the federal deficit, which he says is crucial to the nation’s long-term prosperity.

Other findings in the Post-ABC Poll:

  • Thirty-seven percent of Republicans now approve of how Obama has done his job, down from the 62 percent who last month gave him good marks for his handling of the transition.
  • Nearly three in four said Obama is trying to reach across the partisan divide; nearly six in 10 said Republicans are not returning the gesture.
  • Democrats maintain an edge of nearly 2 to 1 over Republicans as the party that Americans prefer to confront “the big issues” over the next few years.
  • Fifty-six percent, said the economy is in a rather serious long-term decline; far fewer, 42 percent, see the downturn as “normal” movement.

The poll was conducted Feb. 19 to 22 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults interviewed on either a conventional or cellular telephone. Results from the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points; error margins are higher for subgroups.

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