Immediately after the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, then-President George W. Bush experienced a 10-point surge in U.S. approval of his handling of the war in Iraq, according to many polls. Bush's job approval rating gradually gained 6 points.
But excitement over Saddam's capture gradually waned, and with it Bush's polls numbers, as Americans turned their attention to the nation's economic woes. Many people wonder whether Obama will experience the same fate heading into the 2012 campaign.
We are starting to get our first glimpse of President Obama's "Bin Laden Bounce." President Obama's approval rating has jumped 9 percentage points in the wake of bin Laden's death.
Growing racial and ethnic diversity, which is concentrated among younger generations, has benefited Democrats. Race and ethnicity are strongly associated with views about government, and in no small part account for some of the greater liberalism of the younger age groups and greater conservatism of older groups.
The latest national polls suggest this pattern may well continue in 2012. Millennial generation voters are inclined to back Barack Obama for reelection by a wide margin in a matchup against Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who has run the strongest against Obama in many polls. By contrast, Silent generation voters are solidly behind Romney.
Mr. Obama’s approval rating has thus far experienced relatively few ups and downs linked to singular events. There have been no big scandals, for example. The Solyndra bankruptcy, the General Services Administration’s over-the-top Las Vegas conference and the Secret Service prostitution debacle haven’t quite proven to be Watergate, Iran-contra or even Whitewater. The killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 produced only a temporary increase in approval. Instead, Mr. Obama’s initial popularity in the “honeymoon” after he was inaugurated has generally been on a gradual decline — a trend that is most likely traceable to the damaging recession and weak recovery, which have created persistent pessimism about the economy.
It’s well known that presidential approval ratings are a powerful predictor of election outcomes. President Obama’s current 47 percent approval rating would be among the lowest approval ratings of any incumbent president who went on to be re-elected.
The president’s job approval rating is mixed, as it has been for many months. Overall, 44% of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, while 46% disapprove
Voters are skeptical about whether or not Barack Obama has delivered the change he promised during his 2008 presidential campaign. Just 28% think he has delivered change that has been good for the country, while 58% think he has not delivered change. Most Democrats think he has delivered positive change, while most Republicans and independents do not.
All-Time High: 69% January 22-24, 2009
All-Time Low: 38% October 15-17, 2011
Term average to date: 49% Jan 20, 2009 - present