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What gives? First, approval of Congress jumps; Now, Americans like Republican John Boehner more

January 19, 2011 |  6:06 am

House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner 1-9-11

First, voters in November ordered a historic turnaround in membership of the U.S. House of Representatives, substituting a Republican majority for the other people.

Then, as soon as the new Congress convened early this month, came a poll showing Americans' opinion of Congress had jumped sharply to a less pathetic approval level of 20% from the 13% under Brand X.

Now comes new polling word from the gods of Gallup that the Republicans' House leader, John Boehner of Ohio, has also jumped in approval, at least among those who've heard of the guy. Not that he likely cares because ....

... he's elected by Ohioans and fellow House GOP members, but Boehner's public approval among Americans is up fully 15 points to 42% since last fall. That's almost twice the 22% who still view him unfavorably.

Boehner will step on the main political stage again today when the House is expected to vote to repeal President Obama's healthcare legislation, as the GOP promised in the fall campaign. Rasmussen Reports just found that most Americans believe such a repeal will help reduce the amazing federal deficit.

Boehner's approval is significant for a couple of reasons. One, he's now first in line to the presidency after Vice President Joe Biden, who's back from Iraq, btw. Did we mention Boehner is not a Democrat like Biden?

And second, Boehner's approval puts him ahead of ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Remember her? She's approved now by only 33%. Boehner's also ahead of Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (25% favorable, 41% not). OK, neither of those is hard to beat. 

Not that it matters, but Boehner's not that far behind Obama's Gallup approval. Now that the Democrat is cleansed of his party's thriftless House majority, the Real Good Talker's national approval has ticked up slightly to 53%.

Obama's low point so far was 47% in October, just before the House purge. His current approval, however, is barely two-thirds of the 78% he held the first day he walked into the Oval Office, took off his tie and put his feet up on the historic desk.

A new Gallup Poll released early Wednesday finds Americans OK with Obama's moral character (61% satisfied). But they say he needs work on "putting the country's interests ahead of his own political interests" (only 38% satisfied) and bringing about necessary changes (28% satisfied).

One caveat for Boehner btw: Pelosi's approval also rose when she became speaker in 2007. Her approval back then was 44%. Her highest approval was 54%. Oh, no, wait. That's Pelosi's current disapproval. Her highest approval was that one-time 44% way back when.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Jay Laprete / Reuters

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