Bin Laden's Death Bumps Obama's Approval Rate

Bin Laden's Death Bumps Obama's Approval Rate

After the killing of bin Laden, President Obama enjoys higher job approval ratings.

Published May 3, 2011

Major historic events that positively impact a nation’s psyche tend to have a positive impact on a president’s approval ratings, and the capture and killing of the face of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is no different. According to a survey conducted on Monday by the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, 72 percent of the American public say they’re “relieved” by bin Laden’s death; 60 percent feel “proud” and 58 percent are “happy.” Only 16 percent say that Osama’s death makes them feel “afraid.”


Meanwhile, President Obama’s job approval rating has jumped from 51 percent in March and 47 percent in April to 56 percent as of May 2. Broken down demographically, the president’s approval rating has increased by seven percentage points among white voters and 13 percent among non-whites between April and May. In addition, key independent voters have increased their support for him by 10 percentage points, from 42 percent to 52 percent during that same period.


Good for him, but will it last? According to The Post’s Chris Cilliza, how long is more important than how high. Former President George W. Bush holds the longest record for sustaining a bump in the polls following an historic event, up 35 percent for 105 weeks after 9/11.


Obama probably won’t be as lucky, Cilliza predicts, because bin Laden’s death is viewed by most Americans to be good news, which is more quickly forgotten.

(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Written by Joyce Jones


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