Bin Laden Killing Spurs Six-Point Rise in Obama Approval Rating

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating rose by 6 points after U.S. forces killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey found 52 percent of U.S. voters approving of Obama’s performance in office, the highest level for him in two years and 6 points higher than the 46 percent rating he received from those surveyed in the days before he announced bin Laden’s death late on May 1.

Those disapproving of the president’s performance declined to 40 percent following the attack that killed bin Laden in Pakistan, down from 48 percent right before the raid.

Obama plans today to travel to New York to meet with families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by terrorists belonging to the al-Qaeda that bin Laden commanded.

The president received a similar boost in the CBS News-New York Times poll taken May 2-3, in which 57 percent approved of his job performance, up from 46 percent last month.

The Quinnipiac poll shows a jump in Obama’s standing among independents, with 47 percent of those surveyed May 2-3 approving of his performance, up from 41 percent of those interviewed April 26-May 1.

Second Term

The raid also improved voter attitudes toward his 2012 re- election bid. After bin Laden’s death, 46 percent of those surveyed said he deserved a second term, with 42 percent saying he didn’t. Before the the raid, 48 percent said the president shouldn’t be re-elected while 45 percent said he should.

“The number of people opposed to his re-election has dropped, although they seem to have moved to the undecided rather than to the pro-Obama column,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based polling institute.

Fifty-one percent of voters surveyed May 2-3 approved of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, an increase from the 43 percent rating he received from those polled April 26-May 1. His approval ratings on his handling of the war in Afghanistan also rose to 59 percent from 41 percent.

His approval ratings remained static on his handling of the economy. In the wake of bin Laden’s death, 38 percent approved of his record on the economy, virtually unchanged from the 37- percent approval rating he received prior to the raid. Those disapproving of his handling of the economy remained unchanged at 57 percent.

“Voters have upped their opinion of the president’s handling of national security matters,” Brown said. “But they have not changed their minds about his stewardship of the economy.”

Quinnipiac surveyed 834 registered voters May 2-3 and the findings had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.4 percentage points. Another 1,409 registered voters were polled April 26-May 1 with an error margin of 2.6 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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