Obama's poll numbers bounce up

May 3, 2011 at 4:03 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- The killing of Osama bin Laden has given President Obama's approval rating a bounce, a poll released Tuesday indicated.

The overnight survey of 654 adults by the Pew Center for People and the Press and The Washington Post found that 56 percent approve of the way Obama is doing his job, up from 47 percent in April. Pew said the uptick was about the same as that given President George W. Bush in 2003 when Saddam Hussein was captured.

A large majority, 72 percent of those polled, said they were "relieved" by news of bin Laden's death, 60 percent said they were "proud" and 58 percent "happy."

The survey found approval of Obama's handling of Afghanistan and the war on terrorism has jumped significantly since January, but approval of his handling of the economy remains low. Only 40 percent said they approved, while 55 percent disapproved.

The poll was done by telephone May 2. Pew did not provide a margin of error.

The Gallup Organization said Tuesday that historically such bounces are often short-term.

"History indicates that Americans in such instances rally around their leader in a sign of solidarity, at least in the short term." Gallup said. "That rallying produces an increase in the president's job approval ratings."

Obama's approval ratings were on a slight upward tick before Sunday night's bin Laden announcement, the polling organization said.

Interviewing conducted Friday to Sunday ahead of the announcement had the president with a job approval rating of 46 percent, the highest since April 9-11.

The largest polling rally in Gallup history occurred in 2001 when President George W. Bush's numbers went from 51 percent before the World Trade Center Attack to 86 percent after it.

The capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein sent Bush's poll numbers from 56 percent to 63 percent in 2003, Gallup said.

President George H.W. Bush's poll numbers were very high after Iraqi troops were driven out of Kuwait in early 1991. In 1992, he failed to win a second term.

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