By Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is enjoying a sort of second political honeymoon in the wake of his re-election victory last November with a series of national polls showing his job approval rating climbing from the middling territory where it lagged for much of the last several years.
In the latest Real Clear Politics rolling average of all national polling, Obama approval is at 52 percent while his disapproval is at 43 percent. That may not seem like much but it marks a significant improvement over where he was for much of 2010 and 2011.
Judging from his actions of late — most notably his surprising confrontational (and liberal) inaugural address — Obama is well aware of the fact that he is enjoying a polling boom at the moment. And, even Republicans are tacitly acknowledging that Obama is living in a second honeymoon period by backing down on major legislative fights like the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling.
The pertinent question then is not whether Obama is in the midst of a second honeymoon (he is) but rather how long it will last — and what the president can get done between now and when the good times (for him, at least) stop rolling.
Gallup has done considerable work on the lengths of political honeymoons and have concluded that they ain't what they used to be.
As Gallup's Jeffrey Jones wrote:
"Only one of the last six presidents — George H.W. Bush — had a honeymoon that extended beyond his ninth month in office. Bush's ratings actually climbed for much of his first year and a half in office as the economy remained strong, several communist regimes fell in Europe, and the U.S. military was able to capture Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and remove him from power."