Enough time has gone by that we can begin to assess the impact of the successful bin Laden mission on President Obama’s standing with American voters. As I’ve said before, I think Obama’s credibility on national security has been permanently enhanced, but how much that improves his overall standing with voters, given the priority that almost everyone is giving to economic and fiscal issues, is another question.
The most consistent likely voter polling that I am aware of is Scott Rasmussen’s. Rasmussen currently shows Obama at -9 in his Approval Index, the difference between those who strongly approve and strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance:
This represents some improvement, although Obama had actually moved out of the bottom of his range even before bin Laden was killed. It is interesting that the improvement comes mostly from voters saying they “disapprove” of Obama rather than “strongly disapproving.” Which doesn’t mean, obviously, that they will vote for him.
In terms of overall approval, Obama is currently at 50/49, up a couple of points since before the bin Laden mission. That represents a modest bounce, at best, but again, it was in the context of numbers that were already moving up a bit.
In other polling, Rasmussen finds Republicans leading Democrats in the generic Congressional ballot 41/38, voters favoring repeal of Obamacare by 57/36, and Obama leading a generic Republican for re-election by 45/43. That 45 percent re-elect number can’t give Democrats much comfort.
All in all, it is fair to conclude that the bin Laden mission, admirable as it was, did not significantly reshape the political landscape. Nor, of course, should it have.
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