The Associated Press has released a survey, taken on May 5-9, 2011 to measure public approval of Obama after the killing of Osama bin Laden. The poll purports to show that the president’s job approval has soared to 60 percent. Don’t you believe it.
The AP sample contains twice as many Democrats as Republicans (35% Democrat vs. 18% Republican). While party identification is, itself, a variable to be determined by polling, the normal sample usually contains an approximately equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Lately, Republicans have actually been slightly in the plurality in most statistically valid samples.
This AP poll — with its 2:1 Democratic edge — is utter hogwash.
Even by the standards of AP’s previous polls, this sample doesn’t stand up. It is vastly more Democratic than any of the organization’s recent polls:
PARTY IDENTIFICATION IN AP POLLS
Of course, all of these AP polls reflect a decided pro-Democrat bias compared to most national survey findings. The Associated Press needs to search its soul — and consult with its polling company — to determine if this bias can be corrected.
Most polls, such as that by Rasmussenreports.com, suggest that Obama has, indeed, gotten a single digit bounce from the bin Laden killing. Rasmussen has his approval now at 48% after it had languished in the low 40s for some months.
In the long term, this bounce won’t mean anything. The effects of unemployment and inflation will soon reassert themselves and voters will lower their ratings of Obama. Over the next few months we may expect a steady, slow downward movement as the economic troubles drag him lower.
But the bin Laden killing has one important impact on our national debate: Terrorism is no longer a weak spot for Obama. Despite his rules against harsh interrogation and the limitations he has placed on intelligence gathering, unless we are hit again by a major terror attack, Obama will always have the shooting of bin Laden to point to as a defense against attacks on this issue.
That’s too bad. It is clear that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques had a key role in providing the information that led intelligence operatives to Obama’s conduit with the outside world. Following this man led them to bin Laden’s lair. Blocked from using these techniques in the future, American intelligence officials will not be able to duplicate this intelligence coup as long as Obama’s rules are in effect. Who knows what mayhem we will not be able to discover — or prevent — as a result?