A new Gallup poll finds that President Obama’s job approval has risen to 57 percent, its highest since he won reelection four years ago. His personal favorable rating is 62 percent, higher than at any time since those hopeful early days of 2009.

In one sense, Obama’s popularity is surprising. His chief legislative accomplishment, Obamacare, remains widely unpopular. Election Day exit polls showed that only 18 percent of voters said it was the right solution. Exit polls also found that only 28 percent of voters want the next president to “continue Obama’s policies.” And for months on the campaign trail, Obama said that he would consider a Trump victory a personal repudiation. In that sense, Obama must consider himself repudiated.

So why the uptick in his approval rating? According to Gallup, it reflects “the ‘post-election bounce’ that lame duck presidents typically have enjoyed in November of their last year in office.”

That can’t be the entire story. Even when his job approval was in the low 40s, Obama remained personally popular. So how can we account for the fact that nearly two-thirds of the public continue to like him?

Part of it, I think, has to do with the fact that we have just finished a campaign that involved the two most unpopular and unlikeable presidential nominees in history. Obama comes off as both level-headed and not personally corrupt — which is to say, he’s everything Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are not.

I’ve heard friends say of Trump that he’s not the type of person they’d like to be friends with or to have watch their kids — and those are people who voted for Trump. Staunch Clinton supporters (we have their emails) have discussed her untrustworthiness. But Obama is different. Like George W. Bush, he is likable and trustworthy even when his policies are perceived as failing.

Obama’s had a relatively scandal-free presidency (sorry, Republican partisans) and no personal scandals at all. (The birther controversy was a smear against him, not a scandal).

More than that, Barack Obama is a good person. He’s a politician, so, like Trump and Clinton, he can be over-confident, condescending and arrogant. He is also an ideologue whose ideals many Americans reject. But unlike Clinton and Trump, Obama has integrity and a strong personal character. He is thoughtful in his decision-making and nuanced and careful in his language. He doesn’t do or say things with the intention of hurting others. At key moments and during trying times, he has shown grace and humanity.

He’s also fiercely loyal to his wife and devoted to his children. He determined early on in his life not to repeat his father’s mistakes. He has written, “For the most part what I understood from him was an absence, and I vowed that when I became a father one of the most important things that I could be is a presence in my children’s lives.”

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Blind partisans don’t see any of this. They ignore anything positive Obama does and dismiss anything that would reflect well on his character while over-reacting to his mistakes and framing his every flaw and misstep as proof of his wretched character and bad intentions. I know many otherwise smart people who believe that Obama actually does want to destroy America. For them, everything he does is yet more proof of his malevolence.

I don’t agree with many of Obama’s policy prescriptions, and am baffled that his obvious deep sense of empathy doesn’t extend to unborn children. But, with Trump in the White House, I bet Obama’s personal numbers will continue to rise after his presidency is over. Some of this may have to do with policy, but a whole lot will have to do with Obama’s basic humanity and personal integrity.

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner

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