Obama Gains Five Points on Vacation — Will Republicans Work it Off?

Photograph by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during their annual visit with U.S. military families on Christmas Day at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Dec. 25, 2013

Call it holiday cheer.

Call it a standard deviation.

Or a case of absence making hearts grow fonder.

Whatever it is, President Barack Obama has picked up five points in public approval since he’s gone away to Hawaii for a year-end family vacation.

The president’s public approval rating was hanging at 39 percent in the days before Christmas, by the Gallup Poll’s average of daily tracking surveys.

Today, in the surveys Dec. 26-28, his approval has risen to 44 percent. His disapproval rating, 54 percent pre-Christmas, is down to 49 percent.

Much of the news from Kailua, where the president has taken his family, has read like these dispatches, this morning, in the press pool reports:

“The sun was not even close to up, but at approximately 6:50 a.m. local, President Obama arrived at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii for his usual morning workout. The pool is making a quick Starbucks run, and then holding at McDonald’s. … At 7:47 a.m. local, President Obama arrived back at his vacation residence. Pool now holding at the pool house.”

Of course, the weekend also brought news of more than 1 million people enrolled in the president’s federal health-care insurance exchanges, following two months of relentlessly bad news about “Obamacare” that helped drive the president’s job approval ratings to their lowest point in Gallup’s and many other’s opinion polls.

And Obama remains admirable in the eyes of many Americans — ranking among men as highly as Hillary Clinton ranks among women, above the Pope, above Oprah.

Then again, the polls do fluctuate.

Or, the vacationing president could be breaking even in the opinion polls at the close of a politically tumultuous year.

Still, there’s plenty of time before the State of the Union address on Jan. 28 for the House’s Republicans to work some of those points off the president’s ratings.


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