It is not unusual for a newly-inaugurated president to enjoy a favorable approval rating, though Mr. Obama's rating two weeks into his presidency exceeds that of his two immediate predecessors.
Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had approval ratings of 53 percent around this point in their presidency; George H.W. Bush, with a 61 percent approval rating at this point, nearly matched Mr. Obama.
President Obama is not setting records for popularity, however: John F. Kennedy enjoyed at 72 percent approval rating at this point in his presidency, while Dwight Eisenhower had a 68 percent rating and Jimmy Carter a 66 percent rating.
Nearly all Democrats and most independents approve of the job President Obama is doing, while Republicans are evenly divided.
On specific issues, small majorities approve of the job the president is doing: He has a 55 percent approval rating on handling the economy, a 52 percent approval rating on handling terrorism, and a 50 percent approval rating on foreign policy. Many Americans have yet to make up their minds on his handling of these issues.
There is wide belief that President Obama has strong qualities of leadership, with 85 percent saying so – including 65 percent of Republicans. In July 2008, just 62 percent said Mr. Obama had strong leadership qualities.