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Americans Split On Obama In Pre-Bin Laden Polling

May 2, 2011

The percentage of Americans who approve of the job President Obama is doing is virtually equal to the percentage who disapprove in the final Gallup daily tracking poll conducted before the country learned of the covert military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

According the poll -- conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening -- 46 percent of Americans approved of the job Obama was doing, while 45 percent disapproved.

Gallup's use of a three-day rolling sample means that data released Thursday will be the first sample conducted entirely after bin Laden's death became public. Obama is expected to receive a significant bump in his approval rating this week, but the magnitude and duration of that bump remains unclear.

According to Gallup's invaluable Presidential Approval Center, in the four-day period prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, then-President George W. Bush's approval rating was at 51 percent. It skyrocketed to 86 percent later that week.

A bump in approval would help Obama, but it by no means assures his re-election. Then-President George H.W. Bush saw his approval rating jump from 58 percent to 82 percent in the two weeks leading up to Operation Desert Storm in 1991, but by the following January, he was below 50 percent; Bill Clinton defeated him in Nov. 1992.

The latest Gallup poll surveyed 1,542 adults, for a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

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