Obama sees nine percent bump in approval rating after bin Laden’s death

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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A poll released Tuesday shows a nine percent bump in President Barack Obama’s approval rating in the aftermath of the successful mission to find and kill Osama bin Laden.

The poll, conducted by the Washington Post and Pew Research Center on Monday, found 56 percent saying they approved of the job Obama was doing as president, up from 47 percent in a poll released just over two weeks ago, on April 17.

The boost was expected – historically, most presidents have seen their approval ratings rise in the wake of the successful handling of a national security crises. But the question remains is just how much of a bump it will turn out to be, and for how long it will buoy Obama’s numbers. He is getting a lot of credit for the killing of bin Laden. While most people overwhelmingly credited the military, followed by the intelligence community, 76 percent said they believed the sitting president also deserved credit. Fifty-one percent would also give credit to President George W. Bush.

Obama also received a significant boost – 16 percentage points – in approval of the way he is handling the situation in Afghanistan. He saw a similar benefit on how voters felt he was handling ‘the threat of terrorism’ — 13 percent more said they approved of the job he was doing than when the question was last polled, in February.

But bin Laden’s death has not helped the president in one area: the economy. Forty percent said they approved of the way Obama was handling the economy, a drop from the 42 percent who said they approved in the middle of last month. If the economy continues to be the central issue on voters’ minds, it remains to be seen how long the bump in Obama’s overall approval ratings will last.

The Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 654 adults and has a 4.5 percent margin of error.