Measuring The Bin Laden Bounce, If There Is One

There's not much movement in the President's job approval numbers.

In addition to the Washington Post/Pew poll that I noted yesterday, there are several new polls out in the wake of the successful mission that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden, there are several new polls out that paint a somewhat murky picture of whether or not President Obama will benefit politically in the aftermath of the raid:

  • A New York Times/CBS News poll of 532 adults taken May 2nd and 3rd shows the President’s overall job approval at 57% approve vs. 37% disapprove
  • A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 700 adults taken May 2nd puts the President’s job approval at 52% approve vs. 43% disapprove
  • A Newsweek/Daily Beast poll of 600 adults taken May 2nd and 3rd puts the President’s job approval at 48% approve v. 49% disapprove. This was identical to the approval rating obtained from a separate poll of a different sample of 600 adults taken April 28th and 29th.
  • A Survey USA Poll of 1000 adults taken May 2nd puts the Presidents job approval at 46% approve vs 42% disapprove
  • The Gallup Daily Tracking Poll of 1500 adults taken May 1st-3rd shows the President’s job approal at 50% approve v. 42% disapprove.
  • The Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll of 1500 likely voters taken May 1st-3rd shows the President’s job approval at 48% approve v. 51% disapprove

The Washington Post/ Pew Poll, incidentally, was of 654 adults and taken on May 2nd. It put the President’s job approval at 56% approve v. 38% disapprove.

Obviously, there are some wide discrepancies here, many of which can be explained by differences in sampling and polling procedures. The two tracking polls, for example, comprise averages of three days of polling, so they’re less likely to reflect big jumps in short period of time. In addition, of course, the Rasmussen poll measures “likely voters” rather than adults and its unclear if the problems that Rasmussen had with its sampling during the 2010 election cycle have at all been cleared up.

As for the other polls, let’s take a look at the partisan sampling breakdown:

  • In the CBS/NY Times poll they used a sample consisting of 24% Republicans, 36% Democrats, 32% Independent, 8% Don’t Know/No Answer
  • In the Post/Pew poll the sample consisted of 26.45% Republicans, 31.8% Democrats, 32.57% Indepenents
  • In the CNN poll, the sample consisted of
  • In the Survey USA poll, the sample consisted of 29% Republicans, 35% Democrats, 34% Independents

There were no toplines provided for the Newsweek/Daily Beast poll or the CNN/Opinion Research poll so we don’t know the partisan breakdown. Nonetheless, given the small sample sizes it’s easy to see how even tiny variations in the partisan makeup of the sample could have a a big impact on the final results, which is why it makes more sense to pay attention to the overall trends than to the specific numbers.Each of the polls does suggest that the President has gotten a post in his approval numbers since Sunday, what remains to be seen is the size and the scope of any bounce that may be occurring.

There is one area where all the polls seem to agree, though, and that is that success in the war against al Qaeda is not helping the President when it comes to public opinion of the President’s handling of the economy. As I noted yesterday, the Washington Post poll had the President upside down when it came to job approval on the economy, and the New York Times poll shows the same thing:

But in an indication that anxieties about unemployment, gas prices and the national debt have not withered with Bin Laden’s death, good will toward Mr. Obama did not extend to his economic policies. More than half said they disapproved of his handling of the economy, similar to the result last month, the poll found.

CNN’s poll found the same thing:

“While President Obama’s rating on terrorism and on how he’s handling of Afghanistan each went up seven points, his approval rating on the economy and the deficit are down three points in that same time span,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Remember that the economy is still the most important issue. When CNN last asked Americans to name their top issue last year, 52 percent said the economy was most important and only four percent chose terrorism, putting it seventh on the list.”

The same goes for the Newsweek/Daily Beast poll:

COUNTRY HEADING IN THE RIGHT OR WRONG DIRECTION?

BEFORE:      Right, 20%, Wrong, 65%
AFTER:         Right, 30%, Wrong 55%

ECONOMY HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

BEFORE:      Right, 31%, Wrong, 56%
AFTER:         Right, 27%, Wrong 60%

HAS OBAMA DONE HIS JOB WELL ENOUGH TO DESERVE RE-ELECTION?

BEFORE:     Yes, 40%, No, 48%
AFTER:        39%, No, 49%

Has news that Osama bin Laden has been killed changed the way you will vote in the 2012 presidential election from the way you felt before Sunday night.

Yes       5%
No        92%

So, to the extent that there is any kind of “bin Laden Bounce,” at least at this point, it is very limited and it seems unlikely to do anything to help the President if the economy doesn’t recover. Almost twenty years later, it’s still the economy, stupid.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Herb says:

    Maybe….but I’d rather have a short-term “Bin Laden bounce” than the lingering “bad economy bounce” that many Republicans seem to think will put them over the top.

  2. ponce says:

    Gallup has Obama’s approval rating up 3% today and the disapprove down 2%.

    Giving the rolling nature of that poll, this is the first day Bin Laden’s killing would factor in.

  3. ponce says:

    “Bin Laden bounce”

    Shouldn’t that be a dead Bin Laden bounce?

  4. mantis says:

    Can a dead bin Laden bounce?

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    Can a dead bin Laden bounce?

    Nope, sank like a rock!

  6. jwest says:

    Even after what liberals hoped would be a “game changer”, Obama’s numbers are grim to say the least. Democrats are running out of time to primary this loser and try to get someone who could prevent a 49 state Mondalesque sweep.

  7. Eric Florack says:

    JWest is right.

    Again I point out that Obama bbenefitted from what he outlawed. Obama campaigned against these interrigation methods and so on, to gather support from the far left.So after lecturing us about this, he goes ahead and uses what he campaigns against and has the hutzpah to take credit for it? Does anyone imagine that these points wont come back to haunt him with his leftist base?

    What Obama gains in the middle in the short term, he loses with his base in the long term.

  8. ponce says:

    “Obama’s numbers are grim to say the least. ”

    Considering Bush left office with a 22% approval rating, that seems like a slight exaggeration.

    Today, Obama comfortably leads any likely Republican challenger..if that’s grim…

  9. Davebo says:

    Democrats are running out of time to primary this loser and try to get someone who could prevent a 49 state Mondalesque sweep.

    Jwest not getting the fact that Obama’s numbers are higher than Reagan’s were at this point in his administration.

    Jwest misses a lot however.

  10. And people wonder why we are so cynical about politicians and pundits.

  11. anjin-san says:

    Jwest not getting the fact that Obama’s numbers are higher than Reagan’s were at this point in his administration.

    What else can guys like jwest and bitsy say? Obama ordered the most successful counterterrorism mission in our history, and bin laden is dead. It’s a catastrophe for them.

    It’s fascinating to go back and look at the video of Obama and McCain discussing the topic of taking bin laden out and Pakistan during one of the ’08 debates. Big bad John McCain is terrified of offending Pakistan, he just seems whiny and inneffective. Obama on the other hand seems quite determined, almost fierce. At any rate, Obama told everyone exactly what he planned to do & then he did it. And these cats are choking on it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYefHfokP44&feature=player_embedded

  12. Southern Hoosier says:

    Comrade Obama, just has to find the right spin in order to get the right bounce.

    Mr. Obama’s well-known solicitude to Islam notwithstanding, the aftermath of bin Laden’s death does not appear to be going over well. Everything leading up the takedown was extremely professional. Everything since is amateur hour.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/3/americas-muslim-precedent/

  13. wr says:

    SH — Yeah, someone’s searching for the right spin here, but it’s not the president.

  14. Southern Hoosier says:

    wr says:Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 16:32

    SH — Yeah, someone’s searching for the right spin here, but it’s not the president.

    Not me, I ‘m not the one that keeps changing the story.

  15. jwest says:

    Obama is mirroring Jimmy Carter, and as bad as his job approval numbers are now, they don’t really tell the story.

    The only reliable indicator of how a first term president is doing (as far as reelection) is the right track/wrong track poll.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/direction_of_country-902.html

    Obama is toast.

  16. Southern Hoosier says:

    @jwest
    I’m sure the Republicans will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2012

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Not me, I ‘m not the one that keeps changing the story.

    Oh really? You used to push the birther meme, now you claim you want to move on, while still questioning something about twins and serial numbers…

    Obama is mirroring Jimmy Carter…Obama is toast.

    Aww…keep hope alive…

  18. Southern Hoosier says:

    The official said the wife and children were left behind after an American transport helicopter, possibly an MH-60 Sea Hawk, was abandoned because of mechanical problems.

    OK, we kill bin Laden and had planned to kidnap his family? http://goo.gl/pkjsy

  19. sam says:

    “Eric Florack says:
    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 15:50

    JWest is right.”

    Obama is a shoe-in.

  20. Southern Hoosier says:

    Muammar Qaddafi’s youngest son, Saif al-Arab, and three grandchildren were killed in an allied airstrike on Tripoli, the government said.

    I wonder how much bounce in the polls this will get Comrade Obama?
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-05-01/qaddafi-s-son-three-grandchildren-killed-in-nato-strikes.html

  21. Davebo says:

    I wonder how much bounce in the polls this will get Comrade Obama?

    Have you noticed that having lost Osama Southern Hoosiot has fallen back on the Soviet Union?

    Again, elastic in the underwear. Some folks demand something to be terrified of..

  22. ponce says:

    “Have you noticed that having lost Osama Southern Hoosiot has fallen back on the Soviet Union?”

    All wingnuts believe they are back in the 60s fighting the dirty f**king hippies.

    Even the ones who weren’t alive in the 60s.

  23. anjin-san says:

    Southern Hoser is pretty much a waste of pixels…

  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    All wingnuts believe they are back in the 60s fighting the dirty f**king hippies.

    I was thinking flying monkey monkey worshippers, pink magical polka dotted donkeycorns,happy tree druid zombies,and a crap load of bizzaro alternate universe star trek Tullonians….

  25. michael reynolds says:

    Hoosier:

    When I refer to the former president, I call him Mr. Bush at least once, and subsequently identify him as Bush Jr. if I need to differentiate between him and his father, or on rare occasions as W.

    I also refer to Mr. Bush the elder and Mr. Reagan, although I didn’t support either.

    Your inability to show basic respect for the President of the United States marks you as a very poorly-raised person.

  26. Wiley Stoner says:

    All the GOP candidate needs to do is run on Obama’s record. Currently the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.98 nation wide. Obama stated in his campaign he wanted the cost of energy to raise radically. We will see if that is what the American people want. If you say drilling and exploration will not bring down the cost of gas, I would toss an f bomb, with a you attached.

  27. ponce says:

    “Currently the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.98 nation wide. ”

    What’s up with that?

    The price of gas has risen 25% since the Republicans took over the House.

  28. anjin-san says:

    The price of gas has risen 25% since the Republicans took over the House.

    They are doing a bang up job. Zero progress on the deficit and gas through the roof…

  29. Axel Edgren says:

    Of course, no one who needed a dead bin Laden to be convinced Obama is a good president should really vote, for the sake of the nation.

    Also, torture supporters need to be banned from this blog.

  30. G.A.Phillips says:

    Also, torture supporters need to be banned from this blog

    Do you support abortion?

  31. Axel Edgren says:

    Supporting abortion is something humans do.

    Supporting torture is something subhumans do.

    What, were you trying to make me out as a hypocrite? Do you honestly posit that supporting abortions and supporting torture are comparable? As if they are equal and identical just because both are opinions? That is adorable. You are adorable.

    Every blog should strive to be exclusively for humans, not subhumans. The more low people and opinions a blog bans and refuses to ever listen to, the higher the level of discourse and written material. The more people a person have striven to dismiss and ignore with a good intellectual conscience, the better the person. Only the weak and stupid want “everyone” to have a say (because they know a more meritocratic and strong society would not be kind towards them).

    Other categories that should be banned from this blog are the anti-secular, homophobes, misogynists and those who want evolution to be taught as if it had as much credibility as ID. None of the subhumans included in one or more of these categories can EVER write anything humans would need to read. Stratifying and secluding humanity is many levels is good – it keeps the dregs (who are only fit to reproduce and pay taxes) from people who might become useful to the species.

    I’m not a liberal – I don’t believe in equality between animals who happen to be very similar genetically.

  32. G.A.Phillips says:

    Supporting abortion primarily is supporting the torture and murder of little babies, and in many ways genocidal racism.

    Can’t figure out much of the rest of that stuff you wrote…..but it sounds crazy….

    Axel.

  33. Axel Edgren says:

    Three dots in an ellipsis.

    Also, babies don’t appear in miniature in the womb directly after gestation.

    Zygotes? Not babies. Since what is growing in the womb is neurologically, biologically and physically incapable of constituting even a baby up to a certain time limit (let alone a grown individual), only someone unintelligent would say abortions should be illegal the first weeks after conception.

    I am not interested in debating a ban – I am ready to discuss from what timepoint after conception the gestating entity in question can be considered a baby rather than a lump of cells with some electricity in it.

    As for the” genocidal racism” – I don’t care if every single abortion in the US involved a black woman, or if EVERY SINGLE black zygote or whatever was aborted (that is, total “genocide”). Because no one is forcing the women to carry out this “genocide”, that would be A-OK with me. Less black people, more black people – what does it matter to me, fool?

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