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Obama approval doing better than Reagan, Clinton, according to poll data

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Despite negative economic forecasts and all the rue predicted for Democrats in November, President Obama’s approval rating is actually faring better than Presidents Reagan and Clinton at this point in their terms, according to an analysis of data provided by the Gallup polling organization.

In a survey of approximately 1,500 adults nation-wide, Gallup said on Oct. 6 that Obama’s approval rating was 48 percent. By comparison, Bill Clinton, the previous Democrat to reside in the White House, had a 42 percent approval rating at the same time in his presidency.

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Republican icon Ronald Reagan, similarly, had an approval rating hovering around 42 percent at this time in his presidency, thanks to the country’s languishing economy which was largely credited for a Republican loss of 28 House seats in 1982.

President Obama faces an even deeper economic hole than Regan, with an official unemployment rate hovering around 9.6 percent, even as economists have largely credited the administration for stabilizing the hemorrhaging job markets at the end of George W. Bush’s terms.

In spite of this, the US lost around 95,000 jobs in Sept. 2010, according to government figures.

So far in 2010, the US added a rough average of 68,000 jobs per month: a far cry from the number of jobs lost. Economic forecasters say labor markets must generate at least 125,000 new jobs per month before unemployment will go down.

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In a recent speech, Obama explained that about 8 million Americans had lost their jobs before his economic policies could start taking effect.

“It’s going to take us a while to get out of this hole,” he claimed.

Republicans hope to take over the US House of Representatives, which would require a net pickup of 40 seats. Between 34 and 54 seats are highly competitive this year, according to projections by the Cook Political Report, and Democrats are generally not favored to win.

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In the US Senate, Republicans need to win 10 Democratic seats to claim the majority. With 37 seats up for re-election, a GOP majority is possible but unlikely, with only three races currently led by Republican candidates.

“The two presidents who were faring worse than Obama in opinion polls on the eve of the midterms were George W. Bush who stood at 38 percent in 2006 when his party lost 30 seats, and Harry Truman whose rating was 33 percent in 1946 when Democrats lost 55 seats,” noted Bruce Drake, contributing editor at Politics Daily.

Though Republican victories are largely anticipated in the media, a recent National Journal poll found that public approval ratings of GOP congressional leaders are actually lower than those for Democrats.

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Only 24 percent said they approve of Republicans in Congress, compared to 30 percent for Democratic leadership.


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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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