The President gained popular support after the killing of Osama bin Laden — and many of those gains are still there, though they have started to creep back from the highs in the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s death. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, a majority continues to approve of how the President is handling terrorism — but his approval rating remains below 50%.
54% of respondents approve of the way the President is handling terrorism; down from 58% immediately after bin Laden’s killing. Just 33% disapprove. This week’s terrorism approval rating remains 11 points above what it was before bin Laden’s death.
Overall approval is still relatively low — with a country divided almost evenly in assessing how the President is performing overall: 44% approve, 46% disapprove, little changed from the last week, but still above the President’s all-time lows earlier this year.
The contrast, of course, is between general support for the President’s performance in foreign policy in general and his performance in dealing with a weak economy. More Americans approve than disapprove of the way the President is handling foreign policy (45% approve, 39% disapprove — an increase in approval since last fall), while a majority continues to disapprove of his performance on the economy.
The President continues to lead in head to head match-ups against three potential Republican opponents, although his lead over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney among registered voters is within the poll’s margin of error (45% to 42%). He has much wider leads over Texas Congressman Ron Paul (48% to 36%), and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (51% to 35%).
In a generic vote — unnamed Republican versus unnamed Democrat — the Democrat holds a nine-point lead.
Photo source: Press Association