Gallup: Obama approval rises; more Americans abandon Democratic and Republican parties

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     President Barack Obama is shown walking from the Oval Office along the Colonnade of the White House. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file)

    President Barack Obama is shown walking from the Oval Office along the Colonnade of the White House. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file)

    President Barack Obama is preparing for his penultimate State of the Union Address on Jan. 20 at a time when his job approval rating continues on the upswing. We take the public pulse with Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

    Americans’ consumer confidence is as high as it has been since the recession. And as far as their personal lives are concerned, Americans also now rate their standard of living as high as it has been since 2008.

    President Obama has something to be happy about himself — a noticeable rise in his job approval rating over the past several weeks. Several factors could be behind the increase, including the economy, his immigration announcement, and feel-good days around the holiday.

    Americans’ continuing distrust of government showed up in another way in 2014 — the highest percentage in Gallup’s history of the population identifying as independents: 42 percent. Both Democrats and Republicans have a sinking percentage of the population who identify with their party.

    One note of interest: The Republican Jewish Coalition held a major event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night, as new analysis shows that American Jews are tilting more towards the Republican Party than they have historically, although 6 in 10 still identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party. There are 28 Jewish members of the House and the Senate in the new U.S. Congress, but only one is a Republican (Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s Long Island, newly elected in 2014 — even as the previous lone Republican Jewish member of Congress, Eric Cantor, was defeated in his GOP primary).

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