The AP reports that Barack Obama is enjoying a post Osama bin Laden killing “bump”:
President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.
There’s a lot more in the poll. Go to the link to read it all.
Talking Points Memo notes:
The poll is the latest in a flurry of surveys conducted since the death of Osama bin Laden that have shown the president getting a boost to his approval rating. Prior to the news of bin Laden’s death, the TPM Poll Average showed Obama’s approval rating slightly underwater. But now, the average finds him nearly cracking the 50% threshold, as it shows that 49.4% of Americans approve of his job performance, compared to 45.0% who disapprove.
Typically, such “bumps” are not lasting — particularly this far away from election day. But Nate Silver — who an excellent track record in terms of predictions — argues that this could be significant in the long term:
In the 35 presidential elections since the Civil War, there have been 9 elections (1876, 1880, 1884, 1888, 1916, 1948, 1960, 1976, 2000) in which the losing candidate would have won the electoral vote had he received 1 percentage point more of the vote in each state, and his opponent 1 percentage point less. That’s a pretty frequent occurrence — it’s happened 26 percent of the time.
What this means is that if a presidential candidate were spotted an additional 1 percentage point “bonus” in each state at the expense of his opponent, he would win in the Electoral College an additional 13 percent of the time. (Why 13 percent and not 26 percent? Because among the close elections, the candidate is already on the winning side half the time, in which case the bonus votes would be superfluous.)
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that Mr. Obama’s odds of winning re-election have improved by 13 percent. A formal model would need to be far more sophisticated than this. More importantly, the notion that Mr. Obama’s approval ratings will enjoy a permanent one percentage point improvement is just a hypothetical.
But if the killing of Bin Laden produces any lasting impact on Mr. Obama’s approval rating at all — 2 percentage points, 1 point, even half a point — that translates into a relatively material improvement in his re-election odds, considerably more than the mere decimal-point increase that bettors at Intrade have posited. Unless those bettors are quite certain that the news about Bin Laden will have almost literally no long-term effect, they were either overvaluing Mr. Obama’s stock before or are undervaluing it now.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.