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Monday, May 2, 2011

History Suggests a Rally in Obama's Job Approval Rating as a Result of Bin Laden's Death

President Obama’s surprise announcement Sunday night of the death of Osama bin Laden raises the possibility of a rally effect in his job approval ratings.

A rally effect is a sharp uptick in a president’s ratings as a result of a high visibility news event involving the U.S., usually internationally. History indicates that Americans in such instances rally around their leader in a sign of solidarity, at least in the short-term.  That rallying produces an increase in the president's job approval ratings.

Obama’s approval ratings had been on a slight upward tick before the bin Laden announcement Sunday night. Gallup’s latest three-day average, based on interviewing conducted Friday-Sunday, does not reflect any impact of the late Sunday night announcement.  Nevertheless, for that three-day period, Obama’s average was 46%, tied as the highest since April 9-11.

I would anticipate, based on history, that Obama’s job approval rating will increase further in the wake of Sunday night’s announcement. Of course, the reason we continue to conduct surveys is that our expectations are not always borne out by the actual data. So we will monitor job approval ratings carefully in the days ahead to see exactly what transpires.

One relatively recent example of a rally effect came about with the capture of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, announced on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2003. Gallup was finishing a poll just as that announcement was made. President George W. Bush’s job approval rating in that Dec. 11-14 poll was 56%. We were back in the field Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Dec. 15-16, after the news of Saddam Hussein's capture. Bush’s approval rating jumped seven percentage points, to 63%.

Prior to the December  2003 Saddam Hussein event, we had seen Bush’s rating jump 13 points with the announcement in March of that year that the U.S. was going to war against Hussein.

And, in the largest rally effect in Gallup history, Bush’s rating went from 51% in a Sept. 7-10, 2001, poll to 86% in a Sept. 14-15 poll -- following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Within a week thereafter, in Gallup’s Sept. 21-22, 2001 poll, Bush’s ratings reached 90%, the highest job approval rating in Gallup’s history.

Thus, a reasonable baseline estimate could be the expectation that Obama’s approval rating could rise at least seven points in the next several days, which would put him over the 50% mark. 

Rally effect bumps in job approval ratings often dissipate fairly quickly.  Bush’s December 2003 seven-point increase, for example, was short-lived, dropping to 49% by late January/early February 2004.

Thus, even if Obama gets a bump in his ratings over the next several days, it is not at all certain that this increase will be sustained. And, looking further ahead, the effect of the death of Osama bin Laden on Barack Obama’s re-election chances a year and a half from now, if any, will be very difficult to determine.

One additional observation. Prior to this weekend's events, Americans had more confidence in the military than any other institution we measure.  The success of the U.S. Navy Seals' operation in Pakistan Sunday will certainly underscore and perhaps increase that confidence.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

Yes his polls will go up; if gas prices don't crash, come June they will return to where they are today. Was there a similar article after we nabbed Saddam?

Stop A Cop said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:19 PM  

Funny that since Wednesday, 3 events happen under Obama's watch:

- Released the birth certificate on Wednesday
- Knocked Trump on Friday night with the correspondents dinner.
- Trump replied Saturday that he was not amused.
- Sunday night, Obama interrupts Trump's show "The Apprentence" to announce bin Laden's death

McGehee said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:33 PM  

I don't think partisanship has any place in dealing with this event -- but I would caution any triumphalists to remember George H.W. Bush's 90-plus approval numbers after Desert Storm, which also happened more than a year and a half before the next presidential election.

There's not much chance this one act, for which Obama deserves to be congratulated, will overcome continued bad economic news.

Linda in Denver said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:36 PM  

Yes, the killing of UBL occurred on Obama's watch. But, if the Trillion dollar deficits, 9%+ unemployment, $4+/gallon gas, obamacare, raising taxes, growing government, failing education, union thugs, illegal immigrants, border violence, middle east chaos, etc. etc. continues another year, UBL's death will not be a factor in Obama's bid for re-election.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

While Obama wil probably receive a bounce, the economy, gas prices, and the debt will eventually put him back to the "majority disapprove" range. IMO.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM  

Obama deserves the credit for bring down Bin Laden but he's only a one trick p(h)ony.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

Here's the thing.. my whole family are a bunch of LIBERALS first thing I did was call my sister this morning.. her response was the same as mine NOT BUYING IT.. neither are my niece, nephews etc.. they are all saying they can call them conservatives if they want but there is something fishy here.. BTW they ALL voted for OBAMA and WILL NOT vote for him in 2012.. catching OBL doesn't DO A THING for the average person.. YES it's a good thing.. BUT OBAMA had NOTHING to do with his capture.. that was our military.. Obama's drop in the polls was NOT about OBL.. it's about Obama's policy's epically his domestic ones..IF the polls are being fair at asking INDEPENDENTS.. DEMOCRATS.. REPUBLICANS Obama's poll numbers will hardly move..so far this is the 2nd or 3rd thing he's tried to get those numbers up.. the others didn't work and this won't either..

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:08 PM  

Obama always speaks in the "we"...funny how now he announces this moment as "I". Thank you George Bush; the credit is yours.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

it will be a small bounce..Obama deserves no credit

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:26 PM  

Obama didn't get any brownie points from me. He has ruined this country along with Congress. One thing I know...God is in charge of all. honestly, Osama bin laden could have been killed years ago, but politics and leaders are evil anyway and didn't want to kill him. One must answer why we are in the Middle East, and why the Middle East is over here in America. I pray we die as a sheep nation and not a goat nation. God always wins and is in charge of the enemy from his throne. May America rise from spiritual ashes that has blinded this nation and win against God's enemies even if this nation disappears from fighting devils. ps who cares about 'ratings'? God is above numbers.

destructivepolitics said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:38 PM  

why would there be an Obama bounce? are people's lives better now that Osama is dead? Will unemployment rates drop? will price of Energy stop?

answer, NO! people vote with their wallets, this will not be much of a bounce if any for it does not make anyone's life any better. The price of Energy will keep increasing because the Department Of Energy is Still being funded by congress. If Obama can close the DOE, we will see a real bounce because people will once again have jobs.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:51 PM  

The American people will forget this ever happened come election time.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 2:58 PM  

To borrow a term from penny stock day-traders, even a dead cat bounces.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:09 PM  

``answer, NO! people vote with their wallets...''

Really? If that's the case they should not have been voting Republican for the past 40 years as the People have seen their buying power steadily erode under GOP controlled government during the past 40 years.

People fall into two camps: Fear based and Reason based.

When people buy into Fear they vote Republican. When they let Reason rule they vote Democrat.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

WHO got him? Obama? Try our military using information our POTUS had nothing to do with. He simply approved the kill, something anyone in that office would have done.
WHO started the search?
WHO gathered the information and when - that lead to the find and kill?
Who comes up with the plans and executes them?
Why would a president, ANY president get credit?

JohnF said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:30 PM  

The only people whose opinions will change are those that think he did something. It was the efforts of the fine US soldiers and intelligence officers that did this. Obama's only contribution was to say 'OK'.

I commend him for saying 'OK'. But only give credit to those on the front lines for actually pulling it off.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM  

I am glad the military got Bin Laden , but not at the cost and ruination of a second Obama term.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:42 PM  

"Really? If that's the case they should not have been voting Republican for the past 40 years as the People have seen their buying power steadily erode under GOP controlled government during the past 40 years.

People fall into two camps: Fear based and Reason based.

When people buy into Fear they vote Republican. When they let Reason rule they vote Democrat."

Wow. Just wow. Wipe the Democrat Koolaide off your face and try again. You're either willfully ignorant of political realities or you're intentionally complicit in the lies pushed by the Dems. I've never seen any politician on either side engage in so many bald-faced lies as Reid, Polosi, and Obama which were designed specifically to scare independent and elderly voters. Although the list is enormous, pick any of Polosi's comments for instance, about "millions of seniors dying" because they didn't get a few billion dollars of pork added to the budget, or how, on her way out she insisted the congress under was the most fiscally conservative in history. Really? I guess she forgot that little tidbit called the truth.

The moral of this story is, educate yourself before you recite talking points and look like a mindless flunky.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:44 PM  

I dont care if he walks on water I am a Independent and I will not vote for him.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:48 PM  

" When people buy into Fear they vote Republican. When they let Reason rule, they vote Democrat."
Boy, you are either bad at math or history. Perhaps both.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:53 PM  

Osama, Trump, the political pundits are all sideshows. He may get a bump, but it will be short lived. As soon as Bernanke announces QE3 next month, the printing of more money, the economy will worsen and Obama will be done.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:56 PM  

"REASON" for Democrat?...too funny. If U voted for Obama in to prove you are not a 'racist', maybe U should, in 2012, vote against Obama to prove U are not idiot.

Trillions and trillions in the hole and the Morons want to borrow and spend more...yeah, that shall "work"...idiots.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:57 PM  

There should be a significant bounce in this case. This was a very significant event for President Obama. It isn't just that he finished the job that Bush started, but it is how he went about it. Authorizing a 'shoot to kill' mission is a striking deviation from typical liberal methods. It acknowledged two significant realities: 1) Evil DOES exist and 2) both civilian courts and military tribunals are best avoided sometimes. Justice has been done and no trial is necessary, either to waste tremendous amounts of time and money, or to give a platform fro evils supporters to speak from. The fact that, by his actions, President Obama acknowledged the presence of true evil, which liberals always argue against by making excuses for bad behavior, cannot be overstated. This was an historical event.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 3:57 PM  

Isn't it strange how bin Laden has been killed just as Obama's numbers have been going down, and inflation has been rising? So, what happens now? Well, of course Obama's approval will go up because he "directed the attack", and he looks like a hero. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM  

Incorrect Anonymous about the two camps: First camp believes in spreading the wealth based on your need from society; the second believe is spreading the wealth based on your contributions to society. Those that believe in spreading the wealth based on your need vote Democrat; those that believe in spreading wealthy based on your contribution vote Republican. Guess which wealth sharing model leads to greater prosperity for all and is more sustainable over time?

EscapeFromCalifornia said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:04 PM  

If we had captured and killed Hitler while he was plotting/hiding on an Ecquadoran mountaintop in 1955, instead of dead in a Berlin bunker in 1945, how would we have felt? Happy? Sure. Relieved? Definitely.

Bu I'm not sure it would have changed much electorally. In fact, I think UBL's death at our soldiers' hands - while just and appropriate - will be written in history as "killed when it was too late to matter". I don't think it fundamentally impacts al Quaida's operations, US anti-terror strategy or Mr. O's prospects in 2012. There will be a brief, small bounce in approval ratings - but current events are going to swamp anything related to yesterday's raid on yesterday's (very bad) news.

So Kudos to Pres Obama for pulling the trigger, to Gen Petraeus for his tenacity/wisdom, and to some very brave SEALs for their amazing courage and skill. But the poll impact is going to be little more than noise in a sea of economic and political chaos by 2012.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:08 PM  

"Fearful people vote Republican" that is an interesting concept since the Democrat base is primarily folks who depend on Government. Those people are afraid because the Democrat party exploits the most vulnerable among us with what the Republicans will do to them and their cheese. No sir! The fearful vote Democrat, the patriots vote for liberty! Unfortunately there is only one party that leans toward liberty...that is the Republican Party! However it is the Tea Party that will restore our Republic! The political class of Dems & Repubs will be replaced! First the Dems and this wanna be in the WH! Thank you George W Bush!

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:09 PM  

When people buy into Fear they vote Republican. When they let Reason rule they vote Democrat.

ha ha ha!!! man, that's a good one

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:14 PM  

The idea that Obama should get no credit, and that the credit should go to GWB, is laughable. It was Obama that pulled us out of the fake war in Iraq so we could focus our efforts on the real reason we have been over there: hunting down the evil criminal that attacked and killed us on 9/11. Mission Accomplished.

I can't figure out why everyone on the right hates this great country so much. Stop trying to turn my country into a place that only tolerates your ideological, racial and religious preferences. It is and always will be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for ALL.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

Yesterday 5/5/2011 at 12:00 Noon EST:
1 Gallon of regular unleaded $3.95

Today 5/2/2011 at 12:00 Noon EST:
1 Gallon of regular unleaded $3.95

Somewhere in between there was the bounce...

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:58 PM  

He'll get a short burst of approval until Holder brings charges against the seals for not reading OBL his rights before they double-tapped him.

Sabinal said...
May 2, 2011 at 5:20 PM  

when I went to work (a university), it was as if nothing happened. And this is a public uni, not one of those Christian, right-leaning ones. No one was talking about Obama. The only mentionings was from a student of mine who doubted Pakistan's innocence, another mocked Obama's "I,I,I" speech. That doesn't mean everyone felt that way, but I think most folks (accept those who were directly impacted or political folks) were underwhelmed by the news. the impact of bin Laden's death has faded over the years. now people are worried about their gas and grocery prices. If Obama can fix those, than he will most likely have a second term. If not, the Reps will

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

Our country was founded a great. The right leaning imposes religious intolerance and tries to tell us how to live, while the left takes it's cut from my paychecks to support willing non-contributors to our society. This country is damn great, because of our freedoms, not only from the rest of the world, but from our own government as citizens of this nation. And everyday our freedoms are threatened by the elected officials we so nievely trust. Stay out of our personal and financial lives.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 5:26 PM  

Obama's poll numbers will go up a bit just like Bush's did after 9-11 and catching Saddam. But, they also went back down after Katrina and right in the toilet with the recession and phoney Iraq war.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

To the Anonymous guy just above. Can a liberal ever argue a point without calling the other side racist.
I commend Mr. Obama for the kill order, but the USA's economic condition has not been addressed. We need leadership to simplify the tax code on individuals and business. The "Fair Tax" for example. Also,we need to treat business like a friend, instead of an unwanted guest, if we want to improve the jobless situation.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 6:28 PM  

By Friday this issue will be old news. People will be tired of this by then, it always happens when you have a story that runs wall to wall on the news. bin laden being killed will not bring down the price of gas, unemployment rate, the debt or the defecit. Its wishful thinking on the dems part to think this will cary obama for the next 18 months. Keep dreaming liberals.

sisusa said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:03 PM  

If there is a bounce it won't last long. Remember, it's the economy, stupid!

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:17 PM  

Wag the Dog Obama, Wag it Good!

ccchhhrrriiisss said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:22 PM  

I suspect a 5-8 point bounce. But, after we realize that Obama is still the same old leftist, his ratings will come crashing back to Earth.

After all, Americans are happy that Osama is dead. This is a wonderful day!

However, it doesn't mean that any of us would vote for Obama in 2012.

I suspect that Obama knows that his chances for 2012 are poor. He is hoping for a poor selection of Republican candidates to give him a chance.

This is why I suspect a continuous onslaught of hate rhetoric (ala Sarah Palin) directed at any candidate who has a chance in 2012.

ccchhhrrriiisss said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:22 PM  


I suspect a 5-8 point bounce. But, after we realize that Obama is still the same old leftist, his ratings will come crashing back to Earth.

After all, Americans are happy that Osama is dead. This is a wonderful day!

However, it doesn't mean that any of us would vote for Obama in 2012.

I suspect that Obama knows that his chances for 2012 are poor. He is hoping for a poor selection of Republican candidates to give him a chance.

This is why I suspect a continuous onslaught of hate rhetoric (ala Sarah Palin) directed at any candidate who has a chance in 2012.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:29 PM  

Obama pulled us out of Iraq? When? Wouldn't want to tell that to the families of the 20+ soldiers killed there since the first of the year.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:35 PM  

Hahaha right-wingers literally can't handle that the Obama administration did what Bush couldn't. They have like 15 cover stories for it. It's hilarious.

There will be a slight bounce, a nice "accomplishment" for the election ads but probably not a huge impact on 2012.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 7:48 PM  

Obama is campaigning. His statement about "under MY direction" showed his continued narcisstic attitude, classlessness and 'little man' status. It always has to be about him.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM  

Why do the Right hate this country and almost all the people in it (except their rich)
Bush failed and Obama cleaned it up.
Hatred is all over your faces.

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

bin laden has been dead for 7 years

Collin D Schuler said...
May 2, 2011 at 10:32 PM  

With all due respect, I honestly think the American people are still more concerned with the poor economic outlook than the War on Terror. Sure, Bin Laden's death scored a major victory for the U.S., but Americans' greatest security at times tends to rest in their own jobs.

Anonymous said...
May 3, 2011 at 7:38 AM  

Amazing -- wondering why they aren't actually posting polls??? So sad to see the lame responses on this site...ungrateful people. A great deed done by our President and many of the American people choose to deny it...shameful!!

Anonymous said...
May 4, 2011 at 10:50 AM  

Am I the only one who's noticed some very striking historical parallels between the "War on Terror" and World War II? For millions of Americans, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will forever be remembered as being as great a day of infamy as December 7, 1941 -- our generation's Pearl Harbor.

The spontaneous celebrations the erupted outside the White House and in New York after President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden felt, at first, like a repeat of Election Night 2008 after Obama was declared the winner, but as the night wore on and the crowds got larger and larger, it felt more like V-E Day in 1945, after Nazi Germany surrendered.

Even more ironic, bin Laden's death at his Pakistan compound came exactly 66 years to the day after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his Berlin bunker.

Another historical parallel: Obama's weekend -- from his release of his long-form birth certificate on Thursday to once and for all shut the "birthers" up; to his roast of Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night before announcing the raid on bin Laden's lair late Sunday night, reminded me of President John F. Kennedy in October 1962 maintaining a "business-as-usual" public face -- including a campaign speech on behalf of congressional Democrats running in the midterm elections that year -- while behind closed doors, dealing with the growing Cuban Missile Crisis, until Kennedy finally made the crisis public in a televised address to the nation.

George Santayana was only half-right. Even when we do learn from history, it sometimes repeats itself anyway.

Carol43 said...
May 4, 2011 at 11:53 AM  

Big weekend for Obama. Making Trump look like a fool on Friday night and then getting Osama under his command Sunday was the boost. Bush got a boost from Saddam and from 9-11 but went down the toilet with Katrina and the recession.

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