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NY Times poll released later same day has 11% bump for Obama. I agree that this is likely a temporary phenomenon and his ratings and electoral fate will ultimately be based on bread and butter (and petroleum) economic issues. His ratings in that area are still sickly. But would you agree that, unlike GHW or GW Bush, this event has answered fundamental questions about Obama’s capabilities as Commander-in-Chief, that could have a lasting impact on how he is perceived by the electorate? I agree that this does not sweep aside earlier critiques of his broader foreign policy strategy, or lack thereof, but it does seem to answer the 3 a.m. question pretty definitively. Interested in your views and apologies if you have already addressed this.
Different polls are going to give different bumps because of different sampling methods, different polling dates, and the like. Given that the typical margin of error in any individual poll is three-to-four percentage points, the difference between a nine-point bump and an eleven-point one across polls is pretty much a wash.
I should add that the numbers I quoted in my post for previous presidents were all Gallup numbers. So I wasn’t exactly comparing apples to apples. As luck would have it, Gallup released its poll on the Obama bump today. It finds a six-percentage-point increase. So if I were revising my original post for submission to a political science journal, I’d have to say that Obama’s bump was actually smaller than what I initially reported. But whether the bump was six, nine, or eleven points, the overall conclusion remains the same: Osama bin Laden’s death by itself probably won’t have a lasting impact on Obama’s overall political prospects.