The Kerry Boom

Long held in contempt by big chunks of the political cognoscenti, and exposed to ridicule during the last week for “stumbling” into a Russian diplomatic initiative over Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry is actually bidding fair to become one of the federal government’s best-liked public servants, per a new Gallup survey:

Sixty percent of Americans approve of the job John Kerry is doing as secretary of state, while 31% disapprove. His job approval rating eclipses those of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

These results are based on Gallup’s Sept. 5-8 Governance poll, conducted in the midst of the U.S. debate over military action in Syria, but before the president’s national address on Syria and Saturday’s diplomatic agreement between the U.S. and Russia to secure Syria’s chemical weapons.

Kerry’s standing is similar to that possessed by Condi Rice in a Gallup measuring in early 2005, before the Bush administration’s slide towards public opinion hell. And that’s largely before his role in what may turn out to be a diplomatic rabbit-out-of-a-hat maneuver on Syria was well-known by the public.

Given Hillary Clinton’s robust approval ratings for most of her tenure as Kerry’s predecessor, it’s beginning to look like service as Secretary of State is a tonic for long-serving pols: see the world, burnish your approval ratings.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.