Immediately following the announcement that American forces had killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s approval rating leapt to its highest level since 2009 in a Washington Post/Pew poll.
In the poll, which was conducted on Monday, 56% of Americans said they approved of Obama’s job performance, compared to 38% who said the disapproved. That’s a marked turnaround from one month ago, when 47% of Americans gave Obama positive marks on his job performance, while 45% said otherwise.
It also marks the highest approval rating the President has enjoyed since June 2009, when 61% of Americans approved of his job performance, and 30% disapproved.
The quick turnaround comes in large part from a big boost in support from independent voters. While Republicans’ views of Obama remained virtually unchanged from one month ago — in March, 16% of GOP voters approved of Obama’s job performance, and 16% said the same this month as well — independents flipped from giving Obama a net negative approval rating to a net positive. In March, independents disapproved of Obama’s job performance by a 48% to 42% split. They now say the opposite, with 52% giving him positive marks, and 40% giving him negative ones.
In addition, respondents also gave Obama much higher marks on his handling of Afghanistan and the war on terror than they had earlier this year. Sixty percent of Americans now approve of how Obama has handled Afghanistan, up from 43% in January. Likewise, 69% support how he has addressed the issue of terrorism, a 14-point increase since the start of 2011.
A Survey USA poll released on Tuesday also showed Americans warming to the Afghan war in the wake of bin Laden’s death.
Obama’s approval rating bump reverses, at least for now, what had been a trend of dwindling support for the president, as many polls began to show Obama’s rating underwater. The current TPM Poll Average shows that 44.9% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, compared to 49.6% who disapprove.
While a spike in Obama’s approval rating was expected following the news that bin Laden had been killed, the real test moving forward will be to see if that bump remains, or if it dissipates quickly.
The poll was conducted May 2 among 654 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 4.5%.