The Peak's Prediction: Obama gets a 10 point bounce that lasts through the Fall. As budget fights come to the fore, and America's economic and fiscal fiasco come back into focus, Obama's political fortune will reset downward. In any case, the Peak doesn't give two-rips who gets credit. We will document what it means for the race, but either way, we are glad Osama bin Laden is dead.
President Obama will undoubtedly see a bounce in his approval ratings in the polls in the coming weeks, as he should, but the question is: how much of a bounce and how long will it last?
Liberals are already claiming the bounce will last through next November, ensuring Obama's re-election, but a look at history does not play that out. Presidents almost always see a positive spike in approval ratings after a major national security event, as it causes people to rally around the Commander-in-Chief.
9/11 gave President George W. Bush the longest and largest bounce in history, but that was an unprecedented event that is not useful for comparison, even if today marks a significant event in relation to that day.
So what is the average?
According to Public Opinion Strategies, one of the premier polling organizations in the country, not including 9/11 the President sees an average bounce of 13% that lasts 22 weeks. Perhaps the most useful comparison is Bush 43's bounce after the capture of Saddam Hussein. It was a singular event, capping a long and brutal history with a tyrant despised the world over.
George H.W. Bush's bounce from the first Gulf War is also an interesting comparison, as it didn't last long enough to see him re-elected in a tough economic environment.
The case against President Obama's re-election has centered almost entirely on the economy, with no major narrative around Obama's foreign relations policies. His foreign policy trustworthiness will increase in polls, but it most likely won't be the key issue that swings undecideds.
Americans are overjoyed that bin Laden is rotting in Hell. But after the euphoria washes away, they will still be living in the Great Recession and worried about what the federal government's debt will due to our future and fiscal solvency.
But today that doesn't matter. Today we rejoice that Osama bin Laden is dead and remember those that have lost their lives and loved ones' lives in the Long War against Terror.