By: John Zogby Forbes.com Contributor
At least for the time being, the scandals currently being investigated by Congress are not damaging the President of the United States. A new poll by Zogby Analytics shows President Barack Obama actually regaining lost ground in his job approval. His approval rating now stands at 53% -- the exact percentage he had when he won re-election last November and up 2 points over his rating in early May. His disapproval rating remained at 46%. The poll of 887 likely voters was taken online May 29 and 30.
His approval is up 5 points among Republicans (from 17% to 22%) and 3 points among conservatives (from 22% to 25%), while it has stayed about the same among Democrats (86%) and independents (42%). Mr. Obama is up among all age groups, particularly among the youngest voters (from 53% to 59%) and the oldest voters (from 24% to 34%).
Hispanics remained at 79% and African Americans went up 10 points (from 84% to 94%). Men are up 6 points to 54%, while women are down 3 points to 51%.
What's going on here? For the second week in a row, applications for unemployment benefits are down and the very important "Right Direction-Wrong Direction" barometer is up 3 points to 39% -- still not a good number, but clear movement up. Besides, at least at this point, there is no "smoking gun" linking the President directly with any of the scandals surrounding is administration. That is not to say that the President cannot get burned nor suggest that Congress should not investigate, but it is to say that thus far, he has weathered the initial bad publicity.
There has been a lot of talk comparing the Obama Administration scandals to Richard Nixon and Watergate. President Nixon was a dark character, although he certainly had his share of stunning successes in both foreign (opening up communication with China, détente with the Soviet Union, and ending the Vietnam War) and domestic policies (the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupation Safety and Health Agency, the executive order mandating equal pay for women working for the federal government). But Nixon had his haters and he hated back. Besides, above all, presidential scandals were new. Nothing had tarnished a U.S. president since the Harding years (1921-1923) and, before that, the Ulysses S. Grant administration (1869-1877). Since Nixon, we have Iran-Contra (Reagan) and the Monica Lewinsky Affair (Clinton). Perhaps there is a bit of scandal fatigue?
But even more: I am sure Americans care but I think that while polls say that Congress must investigate, it should also should legislate. And folks are probably tired of one without the other.