Pulling the polling numbers out:
1) 76% of those surveyed approve of how Obama is handling things v. 23% who disapprove.
2) 51% of the electorate favor the stimulus bill, which breaks down into 3/4 of Ds surveyed approve, 51% of independents, and 32% of Rs, with 70% of Rs disapproving.
3) 60% of all those surveyed believe Ds in Congress are doing the right thing, but only 44% feel the Rs are doing the right thing. This gets worse when comparing Obama v. Rs. 75% think Obama is doing enough to work with Rs, whereas only 38% think Rs are doing enough to work with Obama.
4) 64% pf those polled think the stimulus package will help the economy (16% "a lot", 48% "somewhat") although many think the price for the package is too high (55% of those surveyed).
These are extremely favorable numbers for Obama and the Ds. It confirms that the R strategy of being seen as strongly opposed to any stimulus other than tax cuts and reduced spending is playing to their base, not to the broader electorate. And, whatever happens with the stimulus, Obama appears poised to come out of it with popularity intact.
Yet the news coverage increasingly tilts toward this as an Obama loss. And, unsurprisingly, it ignores the uptick in direct engagement by progressives over the last few days as they realize that the Republican base is exerting significant influence in the absence of any contrary voice.
This is why so many people are surprised by things that are actually rather obvious.