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Obama Gets Boost From Death of Bin Laden: NBC Poll

President Barack Obama makes a statement on his birth certificate at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2011.
Jewel Samad |AFP | Getty Images
President Barack Obama makes a statement on his birth certificate at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2011.

President Obama's standing with Americans has improved after U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden, but only slightly.

A new NBC News poll showed that the president's job approval rating ticked up to 52 percent after the successful strike against al Qaeda's leader. That's just three percentage points higher than the approval rating he received in April, before the raid.

That modest gain reflects Americans' continuing concerns over an economy in which growth has slowed and the unemployment rate remains high at 9 percent.

Just 31 percent believe the economy will improve in the next year, down from 40 percent in January. And the survey showed that approval of President Obama's handling of the economy has actually declined since then, to 37 percent.

But the president's ratings on other dimensions have improved. Some 57 percent approve his handling of foreign policy, up from 49 percent last month. (Read more of the January poll results here.)

Saudi-dissident Osama Bin Laden sits on floor with his AK-47 rifle in his hide outs in Afghanistan 08 November, 2001. Osama bin Laden in an interview with a Pakistani newspaper denied reports he had been hospitalized in Dubai for kidney treatment.
Getty Images
Saudi-dissident Osama Bin Laden sits on floor with his AK-47 rifle in his hide outs in Afghanistan 08 November, 2001. Osama bin Laden in an interview with a Pakistani newspaper denied reports he had been hospitalized in Dubai for kidney treatment.

Moreover, President Obama gets higher marks in the survey for leadership, crisis management, decisiveness, direction of the Afghanistan war, and serving as commander in chief. The telephone poll of 800 adults, conducted May 5-7, carries a margin for error of 3.46 percentage points.

Presidents typically benefit from upticks in approval in the wake of triumphs in office or unexpected events that unite the nation. But those "rally effects" tend to dissipate, sometimes rapidly.

For now, however, Persident Obama is benefitting both from his handling of the Bin Laden raid and the weakness of the 2012 Republican presidential field. By 45 percent to 30 percent, respondents said they would "probably vote" for the Democratic incumbent over his Republican opponent next November.

That fifteen percentage point margin is up from five percentage points last month.

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