To a lot of Americans, that is:
President Barack Obama’s approval rating stands at 55% in a new CNN/ORC poll, the highest mark of his second term, and matching his best at any time since his first year in office.
The new rating outpaces his previous second-term high — reached just after a Democratic convention that extolled the successes of his presidency — by one point, and hits a level he’s reached just twice since the end of his first year in office: In January 2013 just before his second inauguration and in January 2011.
The new poll continues a streak in which Obama’s approval rating has been at 50% or higher in CNN/ORC polls since February, a seven month run that is his longest since 2009. And taken together, Obama’s approval ratings in 2016 average 51% so far in CNN/ORC polls, his best mark since that first year in office.
It’s mind-boggling to those of us who see it very differently. But it’s hard to deny that the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make the presidency of Obama seem better to an awful lot of people. Especially if those people are forgetful, or haven’t been paying close attention in the first place, or are predisposed to forgive Obama anything anyway.
Trump makes Obama look and sound like a kindly, thoughtful, measured, even-handed statesman. And Hillary Clinton makes Obama look and sound very “likable”—famously more likable than the “likable enough” Hillary who’s grown even more unlikable since 2008 when Obama originally said that.
Another reason Obama’s ratings have gone up is that there haven’t been any big big crises or revelations lately about him. You may think I’m wrong to say that; just as one example, wasn’t it revealed that he lied about not knowing about Hillary’s private email/server? Well, yes, but if you quizzed 100 people in the street I would guess that at least 99 would have never heard about it.
The fallout from Obama’s climbing approval is probably that it enhances Clinton’s chances of being elected president. Despite her personality differences from Obama, many see her election as his third term. And if you liked the first two, well then…