What a difference a month makes! Or, rather, what a difference one extraordinary event can make for a very brief time in polling, as well as some ridiculously skewed survey samples. Five weeks after scoring a +18 in approval in the Washington Post poll from the killing of Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama’s approval rating returned to its pre-OBL mission underwater status — although you’d need to get to the sample data to learn the extent of the fall:
The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.
Obama’s approval rating from the last poll in the series (when the Post partnered with Pew rather than ABC) was 56/38. Today’s rating is 47/49, almost identical to the mid-April 47/50 Obama received. The mid-April approval rating was Obama’s worst in the series since the midterm elections, when likely voters gave him a 46/52 approval ratio. Today’s number represents a drop in the gap of 20 points, a dramatic decline, but it’s more likely just the electorate shrugging off the OBL bump and returning to Obama’s chronically poor performance as President.