[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/25/art.obama25.gi.jpg caption="Obama’s poll numbers have given him something to smile about lately."](CNN) - How's the honeymoon going?
Very well. In fact, better than the country's previous honeymoons.
When it comes to honeymoons with new Presidents, Americans have, shall we say, been around the block a few times. But this new guy is really sweeping people off their feet.
Eighty-two percent of Americans are happy with the way President-elect Obama is handling his transition. Even 61 percent of Republicans like him - and they're the in-laws in this marriage. He's not supposed to be good enough for them.
“You know, I am remarkably pleased with Obama,” conservative leader Pat Robertson told CNN this week. “I had grave misgivings about him – but so help me, he’s come in forcefully, intelligently.”
Previous honeymoons –- like fellow Democrat Bill Clinton’s - have been good. But not this good.
The public is particularly impressed by Obama's cabinet appointments: 80 percent approve of Obama's so-called “team of rivals.” Obama's scoring more than 20 points better on his cabinet picks than President Bush did in 2001.
A “team of rivals'” is well and good, but will Obama be a strong leader? He insists he will -– telling Americans the “vision for change comes…first and foremost” from himself. But do people think Obama will be tough enough? Apparently, they do.
Nearly half the public expresses “a lot of confidence” that Obama will provide real leadership. That's more confidence than people felt in President-elect Bush or Clinton. Obama even scores higher on leadership than President-elect Reagan did when he took office. That's saying something.
It's a bad time, and the country just went through a failed marriage with the current President. Obama represents hope. Isn't that what honeymoons are supposed to be about?