President Obama’s April job approval rating averaged 47 percent, his highest monthly average since last May, according to Gallup, when he averaged 50 percent after U.S. forces* killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan. In April, Obama averaged 84 percent approval among Democrats, 43 percent with independent and 12 percent from Republicans.
“The nature of the race in the remaining six months will largely be tied to Americans’ ongoing assessments of the job President Obama is doing, especially his handling of economic problems,” the pollster said.
With the death of Osama bin Laden a hot campaign topic on the anniversary of the U.S. raid in that killed him, a new poll by the Pew Research Center shows al-Qaeda’s overall popularity in Muslim countries has plummeted with just 13 percent of Muslims saying they have a favorable view of al-Qaeda, 55 percent holding an unfavorable opinion, and 31 percent claiming no opinion.
Support for the organization is in the single digits among Turkish and Lebanese Muslims, Pew reports. The terror group gets its highest marks in Egypt, where 21 percent hold a favorable and 71 percent an unfavorable opinion.
In his four years as Massachusetts’s governor, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney avoided trade missions, viewing trips abroad as a waste of taxpayer money, an attitude that may offer a glimpse into Romney’s proclivity for budget cutting, writes Erin McPike in Real Clear Politics.
“It’s true that Gov. Romney didn’t feel that it was appropriate to spend tax dollars on trade missions at a time when Massachusetts was facing a projected $3 billion budget gap,” said Kerry Healey, who served as Romney’s lieutenant governor. “But that did not mean that he didn’t value outreach to foreign investors and buyers. He welcomed and assisted numerous trade missions from around the world to Massachusetts during our time in office, and over Gov. Romney’s time in office, exports increased by 44 percent.”
Emphasizing his ties with Israel, Romney issued a press release Monday acknowledging the death of Benzion Netanyahu (NYT). “Not only was he the father of my friend Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel, and the father of Israel’s hero of the Entebbe raid, Yonatan Netanyahu, he was also a distinguished historian and leader in his own right,” he said the release.
The elder Netanyahu was a scholar who lobbied the United States for help with the creation of the Jewish state and advised his son, Benjamin, from behind the scenes, says the New York Times.
President Obama and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pledged stronger U.S.-Japan security and trade ties Monday, with the Japanese prime minister in Washington for talks and to honor the anniversary of last year’s earthquake and tsunami.
The president and prime minister also discussed North Korean aggression (AP) and nuclear testing, U.S. base realignment and troop relocation (WashPost) in Japan, and relations with China.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Romney criticized new fishing regulations (Fosters.com), saying they are stifling economic growth there. He also criticized energy policy noting that commercial fishermen burn an average of about 100 gallons of diesel fuel a day and hurdles to tapping domestic oil resources will exacerbate future price increases.
–Contributing Editor Gayle S. Putrich
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post said U.S. Marines killed bin Laden.)