We have our first poll showing the post-Osama-kill numbers for the president. And the bump seems . . . pretty modest. Maybe other polls will show a bigger bump?
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.
There’s also been a clear increase in public satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States, although by a margin of nearly 2-1, Americans are still dissatisfied with the direction of the country.
The president gets big bounces on dealing with Afghanistan, with his approval rating soaring to 60 percent, and on handling the threat of terrorism, where he recorded a career high of 69 percent.
Wait, really? Osama gets whacked and 31 percent either don’t support how Obama is handling the threat of terrorism or don’t know how they feel? What, these folks were hoping for bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri before approving of the job he’s doing in this area?
For the president, the nine-point increase in his overall approval rating is on par with the six-point increase in Bush’s numbers in the weeks following the capture of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in December 2003. Then, as now, political independents moved the most.
Compared with the mid-April Post-ABC poll, Obama’s approval rating among independents is now 10 points higher, at 52 percent. Bush got an identical 10-point boost among independents in December 2003. For Bush, that lift proved short-lived, with the entire increase gone within six weeks.
How long Obama’s improved ratings will last is, of course, an open question. The fact that there was no movement in Obama’s approval on the economy — still the top issue by far in the country — offers a reminder of the challenges that remain for the White House. Obama’s 40 percent approval on the economy in this one-night poll is the lowest of his presidency in Washington Post polls, though it has been numerically lower in Pew surveys.
Score one for the “it’s the economy, stupid” argument.
UPDATE: And then there’s this surprising result from CNN’s Steve Brusk: “New CNN/ORC poll: bin Laden raid brings only small bounce to President Obama’s approval rating: now 52%, up 1% from before raid.”