Vacation bump for Obama? 

America is mostly back at work today after the holidays -- but not President Obama. After postponing his trip to Hawaii to deal with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, START and other matters, he decided to extend his trip slightly -- today is his last day on Oahu.

Judging from the endlessly mopey, end-of-trip Facebook updates from White House reporters on presidential vacation duty, no one seems to want to come back. Can you blame them? Obama least of all, one suspects -- Hello, Boehner!

But hey! Obama's job approval ratings are back up to 50 percent, according to the latest Gallup tracking polls. After lurching around the doldrums of the mid-40s for ages now, the president just picked up three percentage points -- within the margin of error, but still.

To what can we attribute this phenom? Obama's polls lately have been mostly moving in the other direction. One factor behind the mini-surge could be that he's just not around, and the last 10 days have been relatively free of angsty, partisan bickering -- other than that recess appointment kerfuffle that probably was noticed by a total of five people outside of Washington.

More likely it was Obama's victorious burst of activity at the end of the legislative session, possibly some holiday goodwill, improvement in the markets and other variables. Prediction: When he gets back and the fighting starts with Congress, his numbers will slink back down.

 

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Julie Mason

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