Obama ratings up after bin Laden killed

2011-05-04 08:59

Washington - President Barack Obama said the killing of Osama bin Laden marked a "good day for America". Polls show it was good day for the president, too.

Two surveys released on Tuesday found the president's approval ratings climbed to 56%, a 9-point improvement over last month.

The polls were conducted on Monday, after details were released about the Navy Seal raid on bin Laden's fortified compound north of Islamabad, the Pakistan capital. The results were reported by The Washington Post/Pew Research Centre and USA Today/Gallup Poll.

While the killing of bin Laden has seized American and world attention, such events can prove ephemeral, particularly after a brutal presidential campaign.

Obama's improved approval after success in tracking down the world's most-wanted terrorist could mean little when voters enter polling booths 18 months from now.

Republicans lining up to challenge Obama will be banking on Americans to revert to pocketbook issues when they cast their ballots.

Vulnerable on economy

With no clear front-runner yet, some of the potential Republican field will gather for a first candidates' debate of the election season on Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina. There is no doubt the field of challengers will pound Obama about the nation's upward spiralling debt and what they see as a need to cut spending while rejecting tax increases.

Obama remains vulnerable on the economy. The Washington Post/Pew Research Centre poll showed that only 40% of those surveyed approved of the president's handling of the economy.

 Other polls last week found that about 70% of Americans felt the country was on the wrong track.

The reason is obvious.

Even though the economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, unemployment remains near 9%, a high level for the US. Gasoline prices have shot up to about $4 a gallon (almost a dollar a litre), roughly a third more than just six months ago.

As household budgets are hit hard by rising fuel costs, big oil companies raked in record profits in the first quarter of 2011. US economic growth slowed sharply in the same period, partly because of high gasoline prices.

Fear of attacks

Home values continue to sink as financial institutions harvest huge earnings. The skyrocketing national debt is weighing heavily on the minds of taxpayers, who also fear the government will try to balance the budget by cutting away the social safety net for the poor and the elderly.

The stock market and corporate profits are bounding upward, but middle class wages are stagnant or falling when adjusted for inflation.

While Obama has received generally broad bipartisan and international backing for the killing of bin Laden, Americans at the same time report increased fears about retaliatory al-Qaida attacks.

The USA Today/Gallup Poll survey found that more than 6 in 10 of those contacted said a terrorist attack was likely in the coming weeks. That, the pollsters said, was "the highest rate of public nervousness in eight years".

Still the praise for Obama from unexpected quarters may portend a lingering betterment of the president's approval numbers. On the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senator John McCain, a frequent critic and Obama's Republican opponent in 2008, read out a statement in adulation of the military and intelligence personnel responsible for the killing of bin Laden.

Then the Vietnam war fighter pilot and prisoner of war spoke of Obama:

"I also want to offer my deepest congratulations and appreciation to the president and his national security team," McCain said, referring specifically to Obama's decision to forgo an aerial bombardment in favour of an airborne attack by Special Forces. "It took real courage to assume the many risks associated with putting boots on the ground, and I commend the president for it."

The polls surveyed randomly selected adults by telephone on May 2. The Post-Pew poll included 654 interviews; USA Today/Gallup interviewed 645. Both have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

  • Gorilla - 2011-05-04 09:09

    Osama needed Obama's rating up like he needed a hole in the head.

  • WhoGivesAshi - 2011-05-04 09:25

    Well duh! And it is election year right? How convenient...

      qwasi - 2011-05-04 09:43

      It's not election year. Elections take place in November 2012.

  • Amien Isaacs - 2011-05-04 09:32

    Yeah just what the sonofabitch needed so they set-up this whole convenient for him and now it looks like his the president that "killed terrorism"

      JohannV - 2011-05-04 09:42

      A few days ago Obama was indecisive about whether to pay his soldiers or not. 3 Days ago one of those "unnecessary, expensive" soldiers took out the world's most wanted man. NOT Obama, he just happened to be in office at the time. He is a piss-poor president, reneging on promises to his people, trying to turn the USA into a welfare state by pushing for more grants, free medical, smaller military, etc. He does not deserve a second term and I hope the "politically correct" Yanks learned their lesson. A token, BEE / AA president is a BAD idea! - 2011-05-04 10:19

      You want Shrub back?

      El Cid - 2011-05-04 10:23

      @JohannV - Touche bud. Well put!!!Obama is the sorriest excuse for a President that the USA have ever had. Much like Zuma. Please God that sanity prevails and the American voters realise that they were conned big time.

      Uwe Klopfer - 2011-05-04 10:33

      @johannV : pushing any policy through the american political system is very difficult of you do not have the majority of all 3 level of power : the house of representatives, the senate and of course the white house. The president is of course the "power" in the white house. While i agree that many of his election promises did not come to pass, one must take into account that while he can veto HOR and senate laws they can do many of the same. It called balance of power, and whiule a party may win the presidency, the HOR and the senate like the democrats did, the same party very seldom keeps both the senate and HOR come mid term elections (halfway through a presidents term many of the senate, governorships and HOR seats are up for re election). The american people dont like one party having control of all three levels. Which is a good thing.

      Kaapie - 2011-05-04 15:19

      JohannV.. you obviously didnt hear of George W Bush and ronald reagan and what kak presidents they were

  • Smindlo - 2011-05-04 09:42

    since when is killing someone and burying them in the sea a good thing? shame on you americans

      El Cid - 2011-05-04 10:26

      DUH!!! Look at who he was. Much like Hitler's death. Personally I think that burrying him at sea was a bad idea. Pollutes the ocean. His body should have been thrown into the #4 reactor at Daiichi, Japan.

      Richard - 2011-05-04 10:54

      Shame on America for 'burying' him.. Shoulda rather just blown him to pieces. Sometimes having someone dead is better than having them alive. I don't really care either way as he has probably already been replaced but you can't blame people for celebrating the little victories (if in fact we can believe the media at all that is).

  • Smarticle - 2011-05-04 09:53

    It's all planned! For the benefit of Obama... Osama was killed or died a while ago. It's going to take more than a poorly photoshopped image to convince me. On a lighter note... guess who the Americans are going to blame the next tsunami on?

  • Gido - 2011-05-04 09:55

    He endangered people's life's by announcing the death.. and for what?.. political gain.. shame on him!

  • Matt - 2011-05-04 09:59

    Doh! When will the Americans ever learn? This happens ALL the time! President unpopular, so he causes a chaos or bombs/kills someone, the US population rejoices and loves the president, conveniently everyone forgets just how bad he is... and with the USA on high terror alert, do not be surprised if the USA passes a new law there to further intrude on citizens' privacy some time soon. Nobody would ever allow it normally, but now there's a "chaos" so the citizens will allow it. That's how they got the Patriot Act in the first place. Today in the USA, if you simply tell a friend you hate the government's policies, that friend can tell the FBI and they'll be on your doorstep!

      Richard - 2011-05-04 10:55

      Presidents are always unpopular.

      Brendon - 2011-05-04 12:00

      Lots of people are seeing the truth these days. Exciting times ahead. Golden Rule 1. : Any form of national goverment is a farce. Mainstream religion has taken a major hit and now its time for politics, since theyre the same thing anyway.

  • Supapaul - 2011-05-04 09:59

    I wonder excuse he will have when Osama is not dead?

      drew hudson - 2011-05-04 10:16

      Surely Osama Bin Laden would have already announced the fact that he was alive and well by now dont you think? Actually no, you consipiracy theorists never really top to think

  • diewitman - 2011-05-04 10:27

    Everybody listen! Just watch the movies ZEITGEIST, ZEITGEIST - ADDENDUM and ZEITGEIST - THE WAY FORWARD. Also "Loose Change" regarding 911, and all of this will be explained. You won't believe what crap Amerika fed the world in the last century! People should open their eyes and see we are all slaves in this world!

      JohannV - 2011-05-04 10:51

      Dude, I'm sure you also read Von Daniken and Tellinger and believe aliens planted us on earth. CONSPIRACY THEORISTS should stop watching X-Files or Paranormal stuff - it leads to an imbalance in social thinking.

      Brendon - 2011-05-04 12:05

      @JohannV Zeitgeist has nothing to do with aliens and its conspiracy fact, not theory. People that dont look around and question events leads to social imbalance.

  • Yasr - 2011-05-04 11:16

    diewitman, we all watched that shyt, about five years ago. Is it coming as a chock to you how dumb the majority of your minority is? Welcome to the revolution, and with that your first definition of what "revolution" means, in the South African context.

      diewitman - 2011-05-04 14:40

      When you say we do you mean the whole world? LOL Some people still not aware of these movies so give a gap please!

  • Areufukinser - 2011-05-04 16:14

    Lets see now, a man that believed in suicide and of becoming a Martyr was shot in the head by some American in the middle of the night unarmed. HHAHAHAHAHAH, Are you people f*&king serious??? Firstly was Osama deaf to not hear four helicopters? Why would an unarmed man use a human shield?? Obama will now be elected again and the dollar is stronger...Sick I tell you.

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