Politics
President Barack Obama waves as he walks from Marine One across the South Lawn to the White House, Friday, May 6, 2011 in Washington, as he returns from Kentucky. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) President Barack Obama waves as he walks from Marine One across the South Lawn to the White House, Friday, May 6, 2011 in Washington, as he returns from Kentucky. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)  

LCG Election Monitor: Obama far from a sure bet to be re-elected in 2012

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Steve Lombardo
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      Steve Lombardo

      Steve Lombardo is President & CEO of Lombardo Consulting Group, a public opinion research firm that advises corporations and industry associations and is based in Washington, D.C. He served as a strategy and communications advisor to the Romney for President campaign in 2008.

Forget all the political commentary over the last three weeks: the fact is the killing of Osama bin Laden helped Obama.

Not as much as the White House would like, nor as little as Republicans would like to think. Meanwhile, the economy is stuck still in neutral, leaving voters in funk. All of which translates into the following: while President Obama is in a better place politically than he was 30 days ago he is far from a sure bet to be re-elected in 2012.

The president’s bold gamble to take out bin Laden was a massive success and a very good thing for this country. The political impact was important but not for the reasons you might think. Our sense is that the poll bump from the bin laden killing was going to be single digits and short term and it has been borne out so far.

These types of events almost never lead to lasting gains in the headline approval rating. However, they can contribute to a more substantive shift in opinion. So while Gallup and others have shown the president’s approval rating returning to pre-bin Laden levels, the data suggests that there has been a meaningful drop in Obama’s disapproval rating. This is important because it means that some swing voters (independents and soft partisans) are reconsidering the president.

More importantly, the bin Laden decision and take down suggest to voters that Obama is a decisive leader and this was an area of great weakness for the president. In March, a Gallup poll found that only 52% of voters thought Obama was a strong and decisive leader. This was down 10 points in the last year and more than 20 points since he took office.

There is a segment of independent and soft Republican male voters who have long felt that Obama is not a decisive, strong leader; they see his intelligence and often professorial demeanor as being unsuited for the presidency. By taking out America’s public enemy number one in a raid on foreign soil, Obama has provided a clear instance of bold leadership that undercuts that criticism. In politics winning is often about sending clear “signals” and this is as good as it gets on that front.

So, yes, the president got a bump and, yes, it was short lived. We suspect that in the end, the impact will be approximately a 3-5 percent bump in approval and corresponding drop in disapproval that puts him somewhere around 50-51 percent approval rating and 43-45 percent disapproval. In addition, perceptions of the president’s handling of foreign policy and Afghanistan have gone up considerably. All in all, a good few weeks for the president.

  • bigdave

    Come on now folks, do you not understand that PRESIDENTS of other countries look at Obama and laugh to themselves at the ignorance of American voters electing a man who has never even held a real job, is so over his head its pathetically obvious(except to a condescending leftist media which continues to wear blinders to everything DEMORAT!) and who is by most accounts not even an AMERICAN?!IT must take every bit of control they can muster to keep from bursting out in a spasdic laughathon!

  • Kurtis D. Davis

    Thanks for the article Mr. Lombardo, and opportunity to share ideas. First of all, Soetoro/Obama could be challenged for his party’s nomination—just ask President Carter. In the second instance, let’s discuss this bin Laden demise.

    If you will but think about it, Soetoro/Obama has now intentionally emphasised his third gory “head shot”—that’s the Somali pirate, Arizona, and now bin Laden. The President had a clear choice as to exactly what would be politicized, and the choice(s) are obvious. Now look up the word HORRIBLE in common dictionary, and see if it does not, in a single word, describe the conduct of Soetoro/Obama. There is never anything pretty about someone being shot through the head.

    If you consider the President’s conduct immediately before bin Laden’s shooting, you get a snapshot of the deceitful, fraudelent conduct with regards to eligibility considerations. And yes, there is indeed much interest in the birth certificate—especially reports about the one from Kenya.

    Let us next consider $4.00/gallon gasoline. It is very clear the Democratic majority could have yielded a “windfall profits tax”—we received communist healthcare instead. It is further clear that lawful treaty with Iraq could yield low cost oil, so as to repay the expense of war—we received increased rights for homosexuals instead.

    Let us also consider the Holy Scripture. In all our history, not once has a President so mocked the book sworn upon, especially Leviticus 18:22.

    We move next to the initiation of war in Libya. Clearly the oath of office was forsaken by the President, and furthermore, the highest echelons of our military were ordered to do the same thing.

    Let us next consider the millions of unemployed, the multitude of home foreclosures, the millions of unlawful immigrants, the decrepid housing market, the millions being flooded by the Mississippi, the trillions in deficit spending, a request to increase the debt limit, and even more.

    Now in the end of this rhetoric, let me ask you this: Do you think Soetoro/Obama should be re-elected?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Quinney/1619139154 Michael Quinney

    It took the O 16 hours to make the decision to kill this countries numero uno public enemy #1. It would have taken me about 6 seconds to make that decision. It’s a damn good thing the russians were not firing ICBM’s at us, we’d all be dead in a pile of radioactive rubble by the time “Hopey” had gotten off the toilet to make the decision. What the hell would happen if NK or Iran gets Missle capability to hit the US? Thank god Leon Panetta has balls, because BHO sure as hell doesn’t.

    And why doesn’t someone on the right point this out. How can anyone call Obama decisive??????????

  • jdbeatty

    Since the Party is incapable of finding any credible candidates to replace him, Obama will be president for life.

    • maggie8

      Try reading “Crimes Against Liberty” and then think again, even if you only belief half of it.

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  • russ311

    Not only is the near-term prospect of a economic turnaround bleak. Most of the public now sees that Obamacare is a legislative disaster, a sham and a fraud, not at all close to being the reform and cost reduction of healthcare as promised. My advice to the Dems and Obama for the 2012 campaign season is to immediately begin blaming Reid and especially Pelosi for ramming through the so-called healthcare reform bill before anyone had a reasonable chance to read the stinking piece of legislative dreck prior to passage. A certain maneuver of Machiavellian genius on Obama’s part would be to finally lead from in front and convince congressional Dems up for re-election to move through congress a bill of repeal of Obamacare, re-branded as Pelosi_Reidcare. The GOP would have no choice but to join with the Dems and Obama on the repeal or else risk derision as being the party of “NO” again. Of course, Obama must begin leading the movement on the Democrat side before any of the court cases on the mandate question reach the SCOTUS for a decision. Otherwise, the public will see through the transparent cynicism of the Dems as just posturing for effect if they wait until it is clear the SCOTUS is about to overturn the Obamacare law as unconstitutional anyway. To take the lead in the repeal movement, Obama and any Dems who get on board with him will guarantee their re-election success and take credit for trimming the deficit of $1 trillion. That will then also give the advantage to the Dems in debates over further cuts to entitlement programs and raising of the debt ceiling. The Dems may even get back their super-majority for the next 40 years if they take my advice.