News / USA

    Obama Gets Poll Boost, but Experts Wonder for How Long

    U.S. President Barack Obama poses with officers of the First Precinct police station in lower Manhattan during a visit to the World Trade Center site in New York, May 5, 2011.
    U.S. President Barack Obama poses with officers of the First Precinct police station in lower Manhattan during a visit to the World Trade Center site in New York, May 5, 2011.

    New polls show President Barack Obama is getting a boost in public approval following the commando raid last Sunday that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    Boost, but how long?

    Political experts are already debating how long the boost will last and how much it will help Obama in his re-election campaign next year. 

    It was without a doubt one of the most dramatic moments in Barack Obama’s presidency.

    "Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida," announced Obama.

    The announcement of Osama bin Laden’s demise set off demonstrations of national pride outside the White House, near Ground Zero in New York and elsewhere around the country.

    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by fellow Republican leaders, makes a statement on Capitol in Washington, Monday, May 2, 2011, about the operation that killed Osama bin Laden
    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by fellow Republican leaders, makes a statement on Capitol in Washington, Monday, May 2, 2011, about the operation that killed Osama bin Laden

    Republicans joined Democrats in praising the president’s decision to go after bin Laden, including some of Obama’s harshest critics in the past.

    "Well, I think the administration clearly deserves credit for the success of the operation and from what I can tell, it looks to me like, you know, we all owe him the same sense of satisfaction that I am sure they feel," said former Vice President Dick Cheney, who spoke to ABC News.

    There is little disagreement among political analysts that the bin Laden raid will help President Obama bolster his domestic support, at least in the short term, says Washington-based expert Rhodes Cook.

    "It kind of hits the reset button for President Obama," said Cook. "Kind of like after the [November midterm congressional] election when he took charge during that post-election session of Congress and got a lot of legislation through. People took a different and more positive view of him."

    Polls

    Obama’s approval rating has jumped nine points to 56 percent in the latest Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll , and rose six points to 52 percent in the latest survey by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

    But Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown tells VOA that it remains unclear what kind of impact the bin Laden killing will have on the president’s effort to win a second term next year.

    "The big question for Mr. Obama in terms of his re-election is how big the bump is and how long it lasts, and that is not clear and will not be for a while," he said.

    Economy

    One of the reasons for that is that most Americans have been more focused on economic concerns of late than security, says Georgetown University expert Stephen Wayne.

    "At this moment, terrorism is not the major issue in the United States," said Wayne. "The major issue is the economy and the government budget. I think Obama will be helped, but not in a tremendous way by the getting of bin Laden."

    A crowd of mostly young Americans have gathered in front of the White House after President Obama's announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, at 2:00am on Monday, May 02, 2011
    A crowd of mostly young Americans have gathered in front of the White House after President Obama's announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, at 2:00am on Monday, May 02, 2011

    Pollster Peter Brown says just because Americans feel better in the wake of bin Laden’s demise, it does not mean that those positive feelings will be transferred to the president’s handling of the economy.

    "The most important question in terms of his political prospects is not whether this will help his national security credentials," said Brown. "Obviously it will. The question is will it make people more favorable towards his handling of the economy, the budget deficit and those domestic issues."

    Bush experience

    That was a lesson that former President George H. W. Bush learned the hard way back in 1992 when he was defeated by Democrat Bill Clinton despite having huge public-approval ratings the year before because of his leadership in the Persian Gulf War.

    "His [President George H. W. Bush] poll numbers were at 90 percent, and obviously Obama is not there," said Matt Dallek, who teaches U.S. politics at the University of California Washington Center. "But then a year and a half later the economy hurt George H. W. Bush so badly that he lost re-election."

    The new polls show little change in the generally negative view Americans have of the president’s handling of the national economy. The Washington Post-Pew poll showed only 40 percent had a positive view of Obama’s economic performance, and that number was even lower at 38 percent in the Quinnipiac poll.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.