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

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

Comments () | Archives (8)

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That (supposedly) 61% of Americans believe Obama is "displaying strong moral character" just goes to show that at least 61% of Americans have no idea whatsoever as the meaning of either "moral" or "character".

The House Republicans have a clear path to high approval and reelection. They must do what they promised to do, even if it means voting down the debt ceiling increase. The tea party is a potential third party and they will not be satisfied with words. That's why the Democrats hate them so much.

What? How can this be? Republicans are more popular with Americans than Democrats? But the media has been telling us for years how evil Republicans are, and how saintly Obama and Democrats are. Has this somehow all been a lie?

Hope&Change! finally makes it to D.C.

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

just don't get it do you?

we are a center-right democratic republic, not the false center-right of Brooks, Frum & Noonan but the real center-right where there is no more room for any new collectivism, we have more socialism than is healthly for us all ready creating more of it is insane but that is exactly what the Dems want to do.

we want smaller, less powerful government, we want government that does not hate business or profit, we want a government that is confined to it's Constitutional boundaries, and we believe that the Repubs will give us a better chance for that than the Dems, it's simple, you just can't see it because it doesn't fit with your narrative.

Shocking isn't it. You will be even more shocked when you see the Congressional approval after the House denies California's inevitable demand for a bailout.

It's amazing that Malcolm considers 42% "not that far behind" 53%! But - since he's a republican hack - who disrespects the president by calling him the real good talker (but somehow forgets that Boehner can't talk without crying) - we'll forgive his inability to understand the difference between 42 and 53. But to help him out - if it were an election, not only does 53 trounce 42 - it's considered a major landslide for the winner...

It's like America is repudiating Obama and liberalism.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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