WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll gives President Bush a welcome parting gift: a "lame duck" bounce.
A USA Today/Gallup released Wednesday national poll indicates that 34 percent of Americans approve of George W. Bush's job performance as president. That's up 5 points from last month, and represents Bush's highest approval in a USA Today/Gallup survey in a year.
Sixty-one percent of those questioned in the poll disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president, down from 67 percent last month.
"Most presidents get this sort of end-of-term bounce," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Holland points out that Ronald Reagan's approval rating went up 12 points between the 1988 election and his final approval rating in December of that year. Bush's father had a 34 percent approval rating when he lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, but by January of 1993, that figure had grown by 22 points. Clinton's own approval rating rose by 9 points between the 2000 election and the 2001 inauguration.
Bush appears to have members of his own party to thank for his bounce. Three out of four Republicans polled approve of Bush's performance. That 75 percent approval rating among Republicans is up 8 points from last month, and 20 points from his October showing.
"When the party's future was in the hands of John McCain, loyal Republicans probably felt that they had to rally behind McCain but felt free to criticize Bush," Holland noted. "But Republicans are the group that is most likely to feel some nostaglia for the Bush years, and that may be helping his numbers within the GOP."
Twenty-eight percent of independent voters and 6 percent of Democrats approve of Bush's job performance.
The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted January 9-11, with 1,031 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.