The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reveals that after the death of Osama Bin Laden, President Obama has opened up a 15 point lead on the GOP field, 45%-30%
While the NBC/WSJ poll didn’t show a big jump in Obama’s job approval rating, a deeper look into the data reveals why Obama is looking good for reelection in 2012. When asked if they would support Obama or the GOP nominee in 2012, Obama led the GOP field 45%-30%. Only 16% of those polled said that their vote would depend on who the Republican Party nominates. Last month Obama led the Republican field by only 5 points, 43%-38%. Obama’s lead has tripled since the capture of Bin Laden.
The most telling numbers about how the American people feel about Obama can be found in their evaluation of the President’s personal qualities. 54% of those surveyed rated Obama as a strong leader. Only 24% rated him a poor leader. 54% gave Obama high marks for his ability to handle a crisis, compared to 24% who rated him poorly. 56% see the President as a firm decision maker, and 27% do not. 51% thought that Obama was honest, and 29% did not. 51% rated Obama as good or excellent Commander-in-Chief, 26% rated him as a below average or poor Commander-in-Chief.
These numbers along with Obama’s perpetually high personal approval ratings paint a gloomy picture for the GOP. Most Americans personally like Obama, and think he has the qualities of a good president. The Republican nominee is not only going to have to make the case that Obama is a poor president, but they will also have to convince voters that they would do better.
Obama’s 15 point lead against the generic Republican field is part of his post Bin Laden bounce, but it also says a lot about the weakness of the Republican field that despite the bad economy only 30% of those polled are willing to pull the lever for the GOP today. It is not a coincidence that all of Obama negative personal characteristics numbers hover between 24% and 29%. The GOP electoral base in this country is about 30%, and it is this core group that makes up most of the people who think that Obama is a poor president.
These people would vote for any Republican, but they are solidly outnumbered by those who appear ready to give Obama four more years. The killing of Bin Laden cemented an image of Obama as a strong, decisive, Commander-in-Chief. These types of presidents are tough to defeat.
Those who have focused on Obama’s job approval ratings might be looking in the wrong place for the bounce. When Obama was first elected, many wondered if he was too young and too green for the job. Two and a half years later, the majority of the American people see him as a strong president. This is where getting Bin Laden politically pays off.
Obama has shattered the right-wing delusion that his presidency is the rebirth of Jimmy Carter. Obama now owns the national security issue, and looks ready to win a second term in 2012.