A DEEP WELL OF PUBLIC SUPPORT…. Atrios noted this morning, “I continue to be surprised by Obama’s approval/popularity.” I’ve been thinking the same thing. Obama won on election day with about 53% of the popular vote, and it stood to reason that his numbers would climb as Inauguration Day approached, but an 84% approval rating? That’s pretty extraordinary.

A new national poll suggests that Barack Obama is more popular than ever, regardless of recent speed bumps on the road to transition.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday morning also indicates that most Americans see Obama’s inauguration as a chance for the nation to come together.

Eighty-four percent of those questioned in the survey say they approve of how Barack Obama is handling his presidential transition.

In early December, the same CNN poll pegged Obama’s support at 79%. It led analyst Bill Schneider to note, “That’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster.” A few weeks later, the number climbed to 82%. Now, it’s 84%.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland noted, “You know the country is in the middle of a honeymoon when six in 10 Republicans have a positive view of Obama.”

All of this is certain to change once Obama starts, you know, governing. But as Republicans plot strategy on how to oppose and obstruct the next president’s policy agenda, they may want to remember that Obama will enter the White House with a very deep well of public support.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.