Obama on the political rebound?

It’s amazing what a gutsy move to settle an old score can do for a president’s standing with voters.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating surged to 60 percent of voters in an Associated Press-GfK poll after the dramatic Navy Seals mission that killed Osama bin Laden, recovering from a low of 47 percent after last year’s Republican gains in midterm congressional elections and approaching his high of 64 percent after his election in 2008.

Bin Laden’s ability to elude U.S. pursuers after sponsoring the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks was a festering frustration for the American public, and bringing him to justice dramatically improved Obama’s marks on keeping the country safe, with 73 percent now saying they’re confident in his ability to handle the terrorist threat.

The surge of approval spilled over to domestic issues, with 52 percent now saying they approve of Obama’s handling of the economy despite the slow recovery from the recession and continuing high unemployment.

The raid that took down bin Laden in Pakistan came shortly after the president took the offensive against the “birther” conspiracy by releasing his Hawai‘i birth certificate and stepped up his aggressiveness in battling Republicans on issues from the budget to immigration reform.

Public opinion is fickle and his standing with voters could go south again just as fast as it rose if he ends up on the unflattering end of the next big story.

But the timing of the latest surge couldn’t be better for Obama as he launches his campaign for re-election in 2012 that many considered hopeless after Republicans took firm control of the House and made major gains in the Senate.

He’s clearly trying to follow the pattern set by Bill Clinton in 1996 when he fought off a popular belief that he’d become irrelevant by deftly handling a similar GOP takeover of the House and cruising to easy re-election against a weak Republican field.

If Obama goes into the 2012 election strong, it would bode well for Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the Senate and have major implications in the Hawai‘i Senate race to replace the retiring Daniel Akaka.

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12 Comments on “Obama on the political rebound?”

  1. charles Says:

    Actually, the timing could have been better. If this had happened next year in the midst of the campaign, it would be a huge body blow to the Republicans.

    As it is, if the economy dips downward in the coming year, so does Obama’s poll numbers.

    The American public is fickle, impatient, and, at times, hypocritical. But, of course, we blister politicians who exhibit this kind of behavior. Oh, did I also mention inconsistent?

  2. Earl of Sandwich Says:

    Yeah, I’m really hoping Obama will be able to ride this to 2012, but I’m doubtful. Like charles, the timing could have been better (not that getting rid of bin Laden should have waited until an election year).

    I’m reminded of the first George Bush and his victory in Iraq. The guy’s popularity was so high, there were commentators saying there wouldn’t be a Democrat in the White House for decades. By the time 1992 came around, well, you know what happened.

  3. Cute Lunatic Says:

    Hopefully Gingrich will be the only GOP contender. With Palin as his running mate. Then Obama will win for sure. 😉

  4. Richard Gozinya Says:

    The persistently high unemployment, stratification of wealth between the ulta-rich and the rest of us, possible rampant inflation and the state of the economy in general pose the biggest threats to the Prez,imho.

    Nobody seems able to predict what’s up next for the economy although the big hope is for (at least) a slow and continual recovery. A so-called “black swan” economic event could change everything.

    Of course none of that will matter unless the R’s field a credible, competitive candidate and that doesn’t look too likely right now. Seems to me the R’s want to focus on Congress and have ceded to Obama the next Presidential election.

  5. Michael Says:

    Polls are unscientific. Let’s see what history says after President Obama finishes his second term.
    I believe it would say that President Obama tried his best and being the First African/Caucasian President, he did what others only dream. To see if he truly earned the Nobel Peace Prize.

  6. Jeff201 Says:

    As the old saying goes you can’t beat somebody with a nobody. Right now the Republicans running for President are a buch of nobodies. Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich etc. don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of Democrats.

    Obama like Clinton seems to be blessed by weak opposition.

  7. zzzzzing Says:

    They probably polled LA to get the high rating. Nothing he’s done has changed my mind whatsoever on how I feel about him as President. I’m just sad no one else has stepped up high enough to the plate yet to replace him in 2012.

  8. shaftalley Says:

    it doesn’t matter who wins the next presidential election if this person is a democrat or republican.we will continue to live in a police state.

  9. Michael Says:

    We?
    Turn the letter w upside down and you get the letter m.

  10. shaftalley Says:

    ok dude, me and you will continue to live in a police state.

  11. Michael Says:

    “ok dude, you will continue to live in a Police State” I will enjoy living in Hawaii.

  12. charles Says:

    shaftalley Says:

    May 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm
    it doesn’t matter who wins the next presidential election if this person is a democrat or republican.we will continue to live in a police state.

    Yeah, we’re no different than Nazi Germany, eh?

    Interesting.


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