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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.

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