An impressive start

AN IMPRESSIVE START…. Obviously, a president-elect doesn’t govern, per se, but takes steps in preparation for governing. The transition period has potential pitfalls, however, and by large, Barack Obama has avoided them.

The public, so far, seems impressed. A few days ago, a CNN poll showed Obama with huge approval numbers. Three new polls show similar results.

There’s the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, showing Obama with even greater support than the last couple of presidents-elect:

Two out of three respondents say they’re pleased with Obama’s early appointments and three-fourths believe that the level of his involvement in making policy has been exactly right.

Another two-thirds view the president-elect in a positive light — a rating that’s more favorable than the numbers Bill Clinton and George W. Bush received 1992 and 2000.

These scores, combined with the fact that nearly 80 percent believe Obama will face bigger challenges than other recent presidents have, seem to have given the president-elect some early leeway with Americans, says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

There’s the new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll showing Obama with a “deep well of public support”:

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed feel positive about Obama’s election as president, a figure that includes not just an overwhelming majority of his fellow Democrats but a substantial majority of independents and nearly a third of Republicans.

Overall, nearly 8 in 10 approve of the way Obama has handled his transition to the White House and nearly three-quarters approve of his Cabinet picks.

And there’s the new AP poll:

President-elect Barack Obama is getting high marks on his transition so far, with even most Republicans saying he’s doing just fine.

Nearly three-quarters overall, or 73%, say they approve of the job Obama has done preparing to take office next month, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. The positive reaction is spread broadly across age, gender, income and racial lines, with 73% of whites — a group Republican candidate John McCain carried on Election Day — giving a thumbs up.

While 90% of Democrats approve of Obama’s transition, so do 54% of Republicans.

Officials in the transition office have to be pleased with numbers like these.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.