Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 3, 2011

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BOOST IN SUPPORT.... It was largely inevitable that President Obama would see his support in the polls grow in the wake of killing Osama bin Laden, but the first question was how big a bump he'd see.

It's only been a day and a half, but there's already some data available.

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.

I'm not sure why anyone would find that surprising. Americans seem pleased about the bin Laden success, but they're still worried about the economy. One isn't really related to the other.

All told, the Washington Post poll shows the president's approval rating up nine points, from 47% to 56%. Though it may not last, Obama's standing is now at its highest point since November 2009, at least in this poll. Just as important, when the pollster asked, "All in all, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in this country today?" there's been a 10-point jump in the percentage of Americans feeling satisfied. It's still a fairly small minority, but the satisfaction rate hasn't been this high since May 2009.

There's some tracking poll data also out today showing modest increases in the president's approval rating, but given how Gallup conducts its tracking numbers in three-day tallies, the new poll doesn't reflect post-OBL support.

CNN also has a new poll showing the president's support going up just a little, but a more significant bump when it comes to his handling terrorism and the war in Afghanistan.

Steve Benen 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (12)

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I like the poll and the hole!


Posted by: Trollop on May 3, 2011 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure why anyone would find that surprising. Americans seem pleased about the bin Laden success, but they're still worried about the economy. One isn't really related to the other.

It isn't surprising, but if you compare Obama's bin Laden bump with similar bumps that Bush got after 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, and the capture of Saddam, you will find that in those cases the bump crossed over into other unrelated areas - not as strong, but there was crossover. Obama won't see that type of linkage because he doesn't have a cable news network working 24/7 to deify him, telling their viewers that all good things flow from him who sits in the house of white. Instead Obama has a cable news network that is dedicated, 24/7, to convincing their viewers that all good things flow from the old gods and the current occupant of the WH is a hapless poseur living off the positive accomplishments of his predecessor. There's a difference.

Posted by: majun on May 3, 2011 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose you feel you have to do this kind of thing, but it's like assessing global warming by looking out the window during a February snow storm in Minnesota.

Posted by: John B. on May 3, 2011 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Whether Obama is reelected or not will depend on two things:

1) The economy.

2) And if the Republicans can find a candidate who's got more charisma than mouldy cottage cheese, but who isn't so fucking batshit insane that even the dimmest independent can see.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

It's the Economy, stupid! With gasoline prices skyrocketing, a slow recovery and the constant drumbeat of Cut the Debt, Obama will drop back from any jump he might get. Ask anyone on the street if they'd trade Bin Laden for 4% unemployment and see what the answer is. And from the GOP/TP standpoint, getting Bin Laden doesn't change the fact the president is black. So FOX will continue to misinform and GOP congress will continue to stall any economic improvement.

Posted by: T2 on May 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see a raise of hands for anyone who trusts the CNN poll .........

Posted by: stormskies on May 3, 2011 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

I do not know about you, but I certainly feel safer. It's hard to quantify, but it's like when Vader tossed the Emperor into the plumbing of new Death Star, all that focused evil energy just dissipated. It may still exist, but for a moment it's uncollected and undirected.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on May 3, 2011 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Let me preface these observations by stating that I am not proud to be a member of such a primitive species with such a thin veneer of civilization grafted on top of it. Yet this is the reality in my view. It is ancient and it doesn't really change.

Obama now has the biggest swinging dick in Washington.

If he is to fully capitalize on his new status as alpha male in this city he is going to have to abandon some behaviors that he has been exhibiting up until now. He doesn't have to turn into an ass. But he is going to have to stop deferring to those who are clearly his inferiors. He doesn't have to be negative if he doesn't want to. But he doesn't have to stoop down and engage them. He is on another level now and he cheapens himself when he gives them the satisfaction of engaging them. He is also going to have to sharpen his use of ridicule. Alpha dog gets to use a snarl to convey displeasure. He has earned the right to expect defference from the press and his adversaries and if he doesn't get it, he can withold access.

Washington is best understood as a pack of ferrel dogs. There is no doubt now who is on top of this heap. The pack isn't looking for bipartisanship. They are looking for a leader. Take a firm hand and the bed wetters are yours.

Posted by: SW on May 3, 2011 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Balz tends to treat the obvious as "news' while basically failing to understand how to use poll data. When the WaPo polling is an outlier, he treats it as definitive w/o mentioning anything else. the idea that an article like this needs two bylines speaks volumes about the fundamental stupidity that's involved.

Posted by: Rich on May 3, 2011 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I trust Obama on the economy. It's the Republicans who are trying every way they know how to make us all paupers (except for the already wealthy) that I am scared of.

I also imagine that the Republicans must be quaking a bit, not having even suspected that Obama was capable of such an important foreign policy victory. They may be afraid that he has some economic plan that they don't even have a clue about.

That would be justice.

Posted by: jjm on May 3, 2011 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Fine...let's retire the meme that the REPUBLICANS keep us safe because...oh hell I can't think of a reason but they keep repeating it. NEXT we'll tackle the 'fiscally responsible' meme...

Posted by: SYSPROG on May 3, 2011 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

^^ Republicans keep us stupid, fixed it for you, aka nobody likes a "smartypants". Whatever "it" might be, "it's" going to have to be phenomenal to stick to Obama and defeat him. They don't have any players in this race, "it" will have to be the end-all media blitzkrieg issue to stop Obama and I don't see it happening..

Posted by: Trollop on May 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK
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