Mr. Popular: According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, Obama's fav/unfav is 66%-14%, a whopping 71% approve of his transition so far, and while 55% say they like Obama personally and mostly approve of his policies, an additional 22% say they like him personally but disapprove of his policies. So that's 77% who say they like the president-elect. These numbers match the post-election euphoric period last month. NBC/WSJ co-pollster Peter Hart (D) also notes that the survey essentially breaks down feelings about Obama into three categories: personal, professional, and leadership. We have a battery of characteristic test questions that devoted polling fanatics should consume via the actual survey itself. But for those with less time, Hart culled it down to this: Obama's personal characteristic average (i.e., those giving him good marks on this score) is 68%; his professional characteristic average is 52%; and his leadership characteristic average is 68%. "The key to Obama's success, I think, will depend on his ability to keep up the leadership qualities," Hart says. "We like him personally, we're less certain about him professionally, but we think he has the leadership qualities to lead us forward."
...And Mr. Unpopular: But if Obama is coming into office riding a wave of unprecedented popularity for a president-elect, then Bush is leaving more unpopular than any other modern president except for Nixon (who resigned from office), according Gallup data of these past presidents. In the NBC/WSJ poll, Bush's approval rating is at 27% (which matches his all-time low in the poll), and his fav/unfav is 31%-58%. By comparison, when Bush's father left office in Jan. 1993, his fav/unfav numbers were essentially reversed, 52%-27%. And remember, Bush's father did not leave office on his own terms -- he was kicked out of office, receiving just 37% of the vote nationally. "Historically, presidents on the way out get some kind of glow," says co-pollster Bill McInturff (R). But that's not the case for George W. Bush, who, as it turns out, gives his farewell address to the public tonight.
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