rom the moment President Obama announced that he'd ordered a successful mission to kill and capture Osama bin Laden, political analysts have made a "parlor game" of guessing just how big the bounce to Obama's poll numbers would be. Now, the first numbers are coming in: A Pew poll for The Washington Post registered a nine-point jump in Obama's approval rating, to 56 percent — his highest numbers since 2009. A New York Times/CBS News poll released Wednesday morning pegged the rise at 11 points, to 57 percent. Will the good feelings last?
This will be a short-lived bounce: The healthy uptick in Obama's approval rating will be welcome news in the White House, says Steve Kornacki at Salon. And his poll numbers could improve even more in the next day or so. But as with most foreign policy victories, the president's bin Laden bounce will be fleeting. "After a few weeks — or even just a few days — of artificially inflated approval ratings," the sputtering economy will drag Obama back down.
"Obama's bin Laden bounce"
Even a "muted" boost is meaningful: The Pew poll's nine-point bump is getting most of the attention, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. But "other polls show more marginal gains" — about a five-point boost, on average. That's at the low end of predictions, and suggests people's views of Obama are already "quite deeply entrenched." Still, if taking out bin Laden wins Obama even 1 percent of voters, that could swing a close election.
"Overnight polls find muted improvement in Obama's approval rating"
The polls are missing the real impact: Look, "I trust polling and political science... up to a point," says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. "But seriously, the idea that this event does not transform the arc of the Obama presidency is to miss the moment." In one move, Obama killed the entire narrative the Right has been selling about him: That he is weak, soft on terrorism, un-American, alien. What's the GOP going to run on now?
"Presidential bumps, past and future, ctd"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- There's a number of reasons the grammar of this headline could infuriate you
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- The Warren Buffett formula: How you can get smarter
- The contentious policy at the heart of Cliven Bundy's armed standoff with the government
- 7 ways to quickly become a master at anything
- How to flirt, according to science
Subscribe to the Week