President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are at the their highest point since 2009, according to a poll conducted Monday evening by the Washington Post and the Pew Research Center, which is the first to detect a bump in the president’s popularity immediately following the death of Osama bin Laden.
Specifically, 56 percent of respondents said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, a jump of 9 points over April surveys by the Washington Post-ABC News and Pew.
The Post reported Tuesday afternoon that the 9-point increase is on par with the 6-point bump in President George W. Bush’s numbers in the weeks following the capture of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in December 2003.
In both cases, a shift among independents was largely responsible for the boost.
Compared with a mid-April Washington Post-ABC poll, Obama’s approval rating among independents is now 10 points higher, at 52 percent, according to the Post. Bush got an identical 10-point boost among independents in December 2003.
The question, of course, is how long the bump will last. The new poll suggested that Obama’s numbers on the economy have been stagnant. And given the economy’s place at the forefront of many voters’ minds, any bin Laden-related political boost would likely be overshadowed in the long term by economic concerns, should they persist.
Bush’s bump, for example, had disappeared after six weeks.
The new poll of 654 adults was conducted by landlines and cellphones Monday evening. The margin of error was 4.5 points.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.