In August 2001, then-President George W. Bush had an approval rating of about 50 percent.
In the first week of October of 2001, Bush’s approval rating skyrocketed to over 90 percent after the events that followed the September 11 attacks.
Now President Obama is in a somewhat similar position. His actions and planning have received resounding positive reviews from conservatives, and most Americans approve of his handling of the bin Laden killing.
With no American casualties, and minimal deaths, the Obama administration handled the raid about as well as can be expected.
The bump that Obama can expect will no doubt hurt Republican presidential challengers’ argument that the president was soft on terrorism. Pushing for defense spending has been a campaign hallmark for Republican candidates for decades, but objecting to Obama’s foreign policy would seem like a stretch now that he has delivered what bellicose Bush wasn’t able to.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Obama consistently pointed out that the capture or death of bin Laden was a top priority. Making good on his pledge may silence critics that feel national security is the issue they care most most about.
By making good on his pledge, Obama may also shed the image that he was incapable of producing results. Many Republicans ran with a “Saturday Night Live” sketch that suggested that Obama hadn’t made good on his campaign promises.
However, an approval-rating bump might be short-lived. After Bush’s all-time approval-rating high, his numbers gradually declined.