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Pelosi v. Boehner; Gillibrand v. Maloney; Obama v. Himself

If it’s true that it’s better to be hated than ignored, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ought to be cheered by the latest Gallup numbers showing that Americans don’t like her … but at least know who she is. Her Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader John Boehner, is unknown to most Americans.

There is both good and bad news for the GOP, I suppose. The good news is that their campaign to demonize the Speaker is working; the bad news is that, when it comes to pushing forward a new generation of Republican leaders, they are still rather thin at the top. I mean, really, who are the leaders of the GOP right now? It’s a rather small and lackluster field, that’s for sure.

Elsewhere, turning to the New York Senate race, incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand may have trouble on her hands as she attempts to win outright the seat to which she was appointed after Hillary Clinton left for the State Department. Though it’s very, very early in this race, Rep. Carolyn Maloney is neck-and-neck with Gillibrand in this recent Rasmussen poll, leading 33 percent to 29 percent. Still lots of undecideds, of course. This race could prove to be yet another test of Clinton family electoral pull, for Gillibrand is a Clinton protege. (She’d be wise to ignore Terry McAuliffe’s fate in Virginia–although, to be fair, the Clinton brand in Virginia is not nearly what it is in the Empire State.)

Finally, checking in on President Obama, he’s holding steady at around 60 percent net national approval, according to Gallup. Looking at the demographic breakdowns, there are almost no surprises, with Obama doing better among women than men, non-whites than whites, easterners than southerners, younger Americans rather than seniors, and those at the bottom of the income scale. Gallup notes that he’s enjoying a healthy honeymoon period, at least as compared to recent presidents (i.e., post-Nixon). We’ll have to wait to see if Obama can stack up against the pre-Nixon presidents of the post-war 20th century.