Here’s a little mental puzzle to ponder this morning:

A new Gallup Poll finds that nearly half of all Americans are satisfied with their perception of the U.S. position in the world. That’s the highest that collective national perception has been in 13 years.

And, get this, the 45 percent who feel that way is fully 13 points higher than it was just a year ago.

Why do you suppose that is? A year ago. Hmm, what happened in the winter of 2017 that could possibly explain a surge in positive self-perceptions of the U.S. global position? The Patriots winning the Super Bowl? No, not likely. Well, we’re stumped.

Anyway, the same Gallup Poll also examines views of President Trump, who took office Jan. 20, 2017. It found that only 29% of Americans today feel that President Trump is respected by other world leaders. That’s precisely the same exact percentage as said that a year ago, when Trump had just taken office.

Gallup observed:

Even as the vast majority of Americans continue saying foreign leaders do not respect Trump, the public is more likely to express satisfaction with the nation’s position in the world than at any point since 2005.

Back in 2016 after what’s-his-name had apologized to pretty much everyone for his country, Gallup found 45 percent of Americans thought world leaders respected the U.S. president.

That same Obama year 36 percent of Americans were satisfied with the U.S. position in the world. Today, the share of 1,044 adult Americans satisfied with the U.S. global position has surged to 45 percent. Why would that be? Definitely not the Patriots losing the Super Bowl this time.

Also in 2016, 54 percent of Americans felt the nation generally rated favorably in the eyes of the world.  Today under Trump, that percentage is 55. Go figure.

The lesson in all this clearly is the overpowering influence of the Super Bowl on Americans’ self-perceptions.