WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama is enjoying his highest popularity since immediately after being sworn in for a second term, according to a poll released Thursday.
Immediately following his speech to the Democratic National Convention – what will likely be his last major national address as president -- Obama's approval rating is at 54 percent in the CNN/ORC poll, while 45 percent disapprove. Obama's numbers have not been that high since January 2013, after he delivered his second inaugural address.
The rating is good news for both Obama – who stands to leave office on a high note similar to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and considerably more popular than his predecessor George W. Bush – but also for his would-be Democratic successor Hillary Clinton. The majority of voters say they like the job Obama is doing and about two-in-three say Clinton is likely to continue his policies.
Obama's solid poll numbers do not necessarily guarantee Clinton a smooth path to an "Obama third term," however. The record is mixed for the successors of a popular president leaving office. Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, held the White House for Republicans in 1988; Bill Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, lost it for the Democrats in 2000.
While voters like Obama personally, they are wary about the direction of the country in general. Fifty-four percent said things are going pretty or very bad, while 46 percent said they are going fairly or very well. Typically, the party in power in the White House fares best when a majority of voters are optimistic about the direction of the country and challengers are in a stronger position when voters are pessimistic and seeking to make a change.