Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Osama death boosts Obama popularity


Obama's ratings have gone up but Americans are still unhappy about the state of the economy [White House]

After being on the decline for a while, US president's popularity has got a strong boost following the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Two surveys, conducted a day after US forces tracked down and killed the al-Qaeda chief in a hideout in Pakistan, found Barack Obama's approval ratings at 56 per cent - a 9-point improvement over last month.

The results released on Tuesday were reported by The Washington Post/Pew Research Center and USA Today/Gallup Poll.

While the killing of bin Laden seized world attention, such events can prove short-lived, particularly after a brutal presidential campaign.

But Republicans lining up to challenge Obama in next year's election will be banking on pressing domestic issues to turn the tables on him.

The Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll showed that only 40 per cent of those surveyed approved of the president's handling of the economy.

Other polls last week found that about 70 per cent of Americans felt the country was on the wrong track.

Even though the economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, unemployment remains near 9 per cent and gasoline prices have shot up.

While Obama has received generally broad bipartisan and international backing for the killing of bin Laden, Americans at the same time report increased fears about retaliatory al-Qaeda attacks.

The USA Today/Gallup Poll survey found that more than six in 10 of those contacted said a reprisal attack was likely in the coming weeks. That, the pollsters said, was "the highest rate of public nervousness in eight years".

The polls surveyed randomly selected adults by telephone on May 2 and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.