Obama job approval higher than disapproval for first time since July, Gallup says

With the payroll tax cut fight resolved - for the moment, at least - President Obama and his family are enjoying their first full day of their Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Chip Reid reports.

With tax cut resolved, Obama hits Hawaii for the holidays
President Obama

President Obama's approval ratings are higher than his disapproval ratings for the first time since July, according to the latest Gallup poll.

The flip comes days after congressional Republicans had an embarrassing flip of their own, agreeing to extend the payroll tax cut for just two months after insisting they would not do so.

About 47 percent of Americans approve of the way he is doing his job, slightly more than the 45 percent who disapprove of his job performance in the days between Dec. 21 and 23.

Mr. Obama's disapproval ratings have been consistently higher than his approval ratings since July. For most of the intervening months, more than 50 percent of Americans did not approve of the way he was doing his job.

According to Gallup, the "fault line" between one-term presidency and "probable" re-election for incumbent presidents is about 48 percent approval.

Congressional Republicans may have overplayed their hand in the spat over extending the payroll tax cut, which affects about 160 million Americans.

The two sides cannot agree on how to pay for the payroll tax cut, which waspassed at the end of 2010 in an effort to boost spending and spur economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

Mr. Obama and his team noted that Republicans, who traditionally support tax cuts, wanted to take money away from millions of working Americans if it meant raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

That fight could come again in February, when the short-term agreement to extend the payroll tax cut expires and negotiations over how to pay for it intensify.

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    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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