Barack Obama continues to be stupendously popular:
Eighty-two percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning approve of the way the Obama is handling his presidential transition. That’s up 3 points from when we asked this question at the beginning of December. Fifteen percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Obama’s handling his transition, down 3 points from our last poll.
The 82 percent approval is higher than then President-elect George W. Bush 8 years ago, who had a 65 percent transition approval rating, and Bill Clinton, at 67 percent in 1992.
The poll also suggests that the public approves of the President-elect’s cabinet nominees, with 56 percent of those questioned saying Obama’s appointments have been outstanding or above average, with 32 percent feeling the picks have been average, and 11 percent saying Obama’s choices have been below average or poor.
That 56 percent figure is 18 points higher than those who said then President-elect Bush’s cabinet appointments were outstanding or above average and 26 points higher than those who felt the same way about then President-elect Clinton’s nominees.
A third say that their impression of Obama has gotten better since the election, with only 8 percent saying their opinion has gotten worse.
Of course that’s not going to last. But it does suggest that Obama should have some pretty wide latitude to drum up support for controversial moves. It would be interesting to see if, for example, Obama tries to use his popularity to move the needle on EFCA. But most important is going to be his economic stabilization/recovery policies. He’s got a lot of leeway, but if the economic situation doesn’t improve at some point that popularity will vanish.