Echoing more than a few frustrated Democrats, I called on President Obama to fight. Fight for the American people. Fight for his presidency. And fight the cementing image of him as a nice guy, but an ineffectual leader. A pushover. That was in August.

By September, we started seeing signs of what I called Obama 2.0, a feistier president willing to take the fight to Republicans. This afternoon in the White House Briefing Room, we saw the president continuing the fight over the failed payroll tax cut bill in Congress. And now we are seeing evidence to suggest that Obama’s change in tactics is working.

The Post-ABC News poll puts the president’s approval rating at 49 percent and disapproval at 47 percent. That’s a five-point improvement since last month. The CNN/ORC International poll shows the same result: Obama’s approval rating also jumped five points to 49 percent with a disapproval rating of 48 percent. And while folks are still sour on the state of the economy, both surveys show dramatic improvement in the president’s standing with middle-class and independent voters.

The Post poll puts the approval rating of congressional Republicans at 20 percent and of congressional Democrats at 27 percent. Meanwhile, the overall approval rating for Congress in the CNN-ORC poll is 16 percent. And the New York Times-CBS News poll in October put it at a dismal 9 percent. Today’s fiasco surrounding the payroll tax cut and how it symbolizes Washington’s political dysfunction should drive that number even lower.