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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First Polls on the bin Laden Bump

The Washington Post reports:

In the immediate aftermath of the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s approval rating has jumped higher, with big increases in the number of Americans giving him high marks on dealing with terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan.

But the new poll, conducted Monday evening by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center, also finds virtually no movement in Obama’s numbers when it comes to handling the economy. That suggests that success on one front — even one as important as the death of the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — might not translate easily to other areas.

Overall, 56 percent of those polled say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, an increase of nine percentage points over April polls by Post-ABC News and Pew. That is the highest approval rating for the president in either poll since 2009.

Newsweek/Daily Beast finds no overall bump at all:

How much overall boost did President Obama get from the capture of Osama Bin Laden? None, according to an exclusive Newsweek / Daily Beast poll encompassing 1,200 American adults, conducted in the two days immediately before the president’s Sunday announcement about the terrorist leader, and then the two days immediately after.

Specifically, Americans like the way he handled the situation, giving him strong results in strength and decision-making (55 percent now term him a strong leader overall, and 63 percent do so in the area of terrorism). Yet he did not get any overall bump in terms of approval rating, or electoral support. His approval rate was unchanged—48 approve, 49 disapprove, both before and after. There was also no statistical change in whether Obama deserves reelection—40/48 before, 39/49 after.

Reuters reports on a Reuters/Ipsos poll:

In the poll, 39 percent of Americans said their image of Obama's leadership had improved, while 52 percent said it had not changed and 10 percent said it had worsened.

Forty-two percent said they had a higher opinion of Obama's handling of anti-terrorism efforts, with 50 percent saying it was unchanged and 7 percent that it had worsened.

Thirty-two percent of Americans think Obama deserves the most credit for the U.S. special forces' assault on Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, while 13 percent gave credit to former President George W. Bush.

Gallup finds that 93% of Americans approve of the action. But other findings suggest a reason why the president's approval bump is not bigger:

When Americans are asked how much credit they would give to Barack Obama, George W. Bush, the CIA, and the U.S. military for finding and killing bin Laden, the U.S. military and the CIA emerge as the big winners in the public's eyes. Nearly 9 of 10 (89%) say the military deserves "a great deal of credit," while 62% say the same about the CIA.

Americans are more reserved in giving credit to President Obama. Thirty-five percent say he deserves a great deal of credit and another 36% say he deserves "a moderate amount" of credit. More than a quarter say he does not deserve much or any credit at all.

Some observers have argued that the Bush administration laid the groundwork for Sunday's actions and that as a result, former President Bush deserves a share of the credit. Slightly more than half of Americans agree, saying Bush deserves a great deal or a moderate amount of credit, considerably less than that given to Obama. Almost half of Americans say Bush deserves little credit or none at all.