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Obama Receives Poll Boost in Wake of International Trip

As President Barack Obama wraps up his first major international trip, new public opinion polls suggest Mr. Obama is bolstering his support at home.

Two new national polls contain good news for President Obama.

Surveys by CNN and CBS News and The New York Times show two-thirds of those asked approve of Mr. Obama's handling of his job.

"Sixty-six percent of Americans approve of the job President Obama is now doing, and that is a new high for his presidency," said Sarah Dutton, who directs surveys for CBS News. "Twenty-four percent disapprove."

The CBS-New York Times poll also found more Americans optimistic about the economy and the direction of the country than before Mr. Obama was sworn into office.

Thirty-nine percent say the country is headed in the right direction, up from just 15 percent in mid-January.

Political experts say the favorable reviews of President Obama on his overseas trip may be contributing to his rising poll numbers.

President Obama talks to Turkish students

Mr. Obama's pledge to begin a new era of engagement with the world was generally warmly received during his trip, including his town-meeting style encounter with students in Turkey.

"I want you to know that I am personally committed to a new chapter of American engagement," said President Obama. "We cannot afford to talk past one another, to focus only on our differences, or to let the walls of mistrust go up around us."

Political analyst Richard Wolffe says foreign leaders are keenly aware of President Obama's general popularity around the world and want to take advantage of it themselves.

Wolffe was a guest on VOA's Issues in the News program.

"Not just the media here, but the media overseas is stumbling over itself to put the Obama's on the front pages of the newspapers," said Wolffe. "The world leaders fell over themselves to get photographed with them. This is such a dramatic turnaround from what we saw towards the end of the Bush administration."

If there is a concern in the latest polls, it might be that the president is trying to do too much at once.

Mr. Obama is pushing for reforms in health care and education

In addition to turning around the weak domestic economy, Mr. Obama is pushing for reforms in health care and education and wants to make the U.S. more energy independent.

"Fifty-five percent of Americans think President Obama is trying to accomplish the right amount, but 38 percent think he is trying to accomplish too much. Only four percent think he is trying to accomplish too little," said CBS pollster Sarah Dutton.

Republicans are also mindful of the president's strong approval ratings even as they try to highlight their serious differences with Mr. Obama over his budget priorities.

Republicans' approval rate continue to go down

Senator John Cornyn of Texas told MSNBC's Morning Joe program that Mr. Obama seemed more focused on style than substance during his trip abroad.

"We have seen the president doing a lot of things, and admittedly his approval ratings are still high," he said. "He had a fabulous experience in Europe. But you know that campaigning is different from governing. Governing is actually hard work."

Republicans have their own reasons to be concerned with the latest polls. The CBS News-New York Times survey found the Republican Party is viewed favorably by only 31 percent of those asked. That is the lowest rating in the 25 years that question has been asked in the CBS-New York Times poll.

In addition, nearly one-quarter of the Republicans in the survey said they trust President Obama to make the right decisions about the economy over congressional Republicans.