EXCLUSIVE POLL: Insiders from Both Parties Give Obama High Marks

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Closure: Obama provided some.
National Journal
James A. Barnes and Peter Bell
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James A. Barnes Peter Bell
May 2, 2011, 2:17 p.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama has re­ceived a ma­jor polit­ic­al boost — at least for now — from the suc­cess­ful U.S. mil­it­ary ac­tion that killed 9-11 mas­ter-mind Osama bin Laden, ac­cord­ing to a Na­tion­al Journ­al Polit­ic­al In­siders Poll con­duc­ted this af­ter­noon. Asked what the im­pact of killing Bin Laden would be the Pres­id­ent’s polit­ic­al stand­ing, more than 90 per­cent of the Demo­crat­ic In­siders and two-thirds of the Re­pub­lic­an In­siders said that the Obama would see a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of im­prove­ment in his po­s­i­tion.

With the suc­cess­ful mil­it­ary strike, In­siders in both parties felt that Obama has been able to quell doubts about his con­duct of for­eign policy and burn­ished his lead­er­ship im­age. “For once the Pres­id­ent has shown he can lead and get res­ults,” said one Re­pub­lic­an In­sider. “He looks stronger than he has on any oth­er is­sue.” A Demo­crat­ic In­sider echoed that this is a “huge pos­it­ive for him as com­mand­er in chief: the more de­tails come out the bet­ter he and his na­tion­al se­cur­ity team look.” An­oth­er Demo­crat­ic In­sider noted: “One of the main cri­ti­cisms [of Obama] is that when it comes to for­eign policy, he is not strong enough and is an apo­lo­gist to the world — this puts those ar­gu­ments to bed.”

And one Re­pub­lic­an In­sider went so far as to de­clare that “for­eign Policy is off the table as a 2012 is­sue. Go­ing from spec­tat­or-in-chief to ‘Lord High Ex­e­cu­tion­er’ demon­strates re­solve, tough­ness and pur­pose.”

At the same time, many In­siders cau­tioned that the boost to Obama’s stand­ing could be short-lived. “It will be fleet­ing,” averred a Demo­crat­ic In­sider. “The [pub­lic’s] fo­cus will re­turn to jobs and the eco­nomy in un­der two weeks. However, OBL will be a stand­ing line in all speeches go­ing for­ward.” Ad­ded a GOP In­sider: “Amer­ic­ans have short memor­ies, so gas prices, the wars, and the gen­er­al eco­nom­ic mal­aise will come back in a week or two.”

Sev­er­al In­siders, both Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans, re­called that after the suc­cess­ful pro­sec­u­tion of the first Ir­aq war, Pres­id­ent George H. W. Bush saw his poll num­bers leap in­to the polit­ic­al stra­to­sphere, only to tumble back to earth when the eco­nomy soured in 1991 and 1992. “We all re­mem­ber the tri­umphant Bush 41 at the Gulf War vic­tory parade; however by Novem­ber, ‘92, not so much,” said one Re­pub­lic­an In­sider. “Re­mem­ber, these bumps are not al­ways en­dur­ing,” said a Demo­crat­ic In­sider. “[George H. W.] Bush after Desert Storm had a 91 per­cent ap­prov­al rat­ing then lost the elec­tion 18 months later to Bill Clin­ton.”

In­deed, In­siders in both parties spec­u­lated that the rising gas prices could quickly un­der­cut the Pres­id­ent’s polit­ic­al gain. “It will have a small im­prove­ment that people will re­mem­ber un­til the next time they fill their cars with gas,” said a Demo­crat­ic In­sider. “It will help a lot, un­til gas hits $4.50 a gal­lon,” echoed a Re­pub­lic­an.

The Na­tion­al Journ­al Polit­ic­al In­siders Poll is a reg­u­lar sur­vey of polit­ic­al op­er­at­ives, strategists, cam­paign con­sult­ants and lob­by­ists in both parties. Be­low are the names of the In­siders who are sur­veyed:

Demo­crat­ic Polit­ic­al In­siders Jill Alp­er, John An­za­lone, Brad Ban­non, Dave Beat­tie, Andy Bech­hoe­fer, Cor­nell Belch­er, Matt Ben­nett, Mitchell W. Ber­ger, Mike Ber­man, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brath­waite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brew­er, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Cal­la­han, Bon­nie Camp­bell, Bill Car­rick, Guy Cecil, Mar­tin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Co­hen, Jerry Craw­ford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Daniel­son, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott De­Fife, Jim De­mers, Tad Dev­ine, Dav­id Di Mar­tino, Debbie Din­gell, Mon­ica Dix­on, Patrick Dor­ton, Pat Du­jakovich, An­ita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve El­men­d­orf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Fer­son, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Fo­ley, Jef­frey For­bes, Vin­cent Fril­lici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Mi­chael Gonza­lez, Joe Grand­mais­on, Anna Green­berg, Stan Green­berg, Pat Griffin, Larry Griso­lano, Mi­chael Gron­stal, Lisa Grove, Mar­cia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Har­poot­li­an, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hat­t­away, Mike Henry, Kar­en Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Har­old Ickes, Mar­cus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jard­ing, Jona­thon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kauf­man, Lisa Koun­toupes, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, Dav­id Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Le­hane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Malo­ney, Steve Marchand, Jim Mar­gol­is, Paul Maslin, Keith Ma­son, Susan Mc­Cue, Ger­ald McEntee, Tom McMa­hon, Phil Mc­Namara, Dav­id Med­ina, Mi­chael Mee­han, Mark Mell­man, John Mer­rigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Na­pol­it­ano, Dav­id Nas­sar, Mar­cia Nich­ols, John Nor­ris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Don­nell, Scott Par­ven, Jef­frey Peck, De­bora Pig­na­telli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Re­iley, Steve Ric­chetti, Will Robin­son, Steve Rosenth­al, Dav­id Rudd, John Ry­an, Mi­chael Sar­geant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sher­man, Terry Shu­maker, Sean Sin­clair, Phil Sing­er, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Kat­rina Swett Sarah, Swish­er, Doug Thor­nell, Jef­frey Tram­mell, Ed Tur­l­ing­ton, Rick Wien­er, James Wil­li­ams, JoDee Win­ter­hof, Bri­an Wolff, Jon Young­dahl, and Jim Zo­gby.

GOP Polit­ic­al In­siders Dan Al­len, Stan An­der­son, Gary An­dres, Saul­i­us (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bain­wol, Gary Bauer, Dav­id Beck­with, Paul Ben­necke, Clark Ben­son, Wayne Ber­man, Bri­an Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Bla­lock, Car­mine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bon­jean, Jeff Bu­ley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Carde­n­as, Danny Car­roll, Ron Christie, Jim Cic­coni, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Cor­man, Scott Cot­ting­ton, Greg Crist, Di­ane Crookham-John­son, Fer­gus Cul­len, Tom Dav­is, Mike Den­nehy, Ken Duber­stein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fa­gen, Frank Fahren­kopf, John Fee­hery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletch­er, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Ben­jamin Gins­berg, Dav­id Gir­ard-di­Carlo, Bill Green­er, Lanny Grif­fith, Janet Mullins Gris­som, Doug Gross, Todd Har­ris, Steve Hart, Chris­toph­er Healy, Ral­ph Hell­mann, Chris Hen­ick, Terry Holt, Dav­id Ian­nel­li, Ed Ingle, Jim In­no­conzi, Clark Judge, Dav­id Keat­ing, Dav­id Ken­sing­er, Bob Kjel­lander, Ed Kut­ler, Chris La­Civ­ita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lom­bardo, Kev­in Mad­den, Joel Maiola, Gary Malo­ney, Dav­id Mar­in, Mary Matal­in, Dan Mat­toon, Bri­an Mc­Cor­mack, Mark McKin­non, Kyle Mc­Slar­row, Ken Mehl­man, Jim Mer­rill, Lisa Cam­ooso Miller, Tim Mor­ris­on, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nel­son, Neil Ne­w­house, Dav­id Nor­cross, Zi­ad Ojakli, Jack Oliv­er, Todd Olsen, Con­nie Par­toy­an, Dana Peri­no, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, Dav­id Rehr, Tom Reyn­olds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, Dav­id Roeder­er, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, An­drew Shore, Kev­in Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steep­er, Bob Steven­son, Terry Sul­li­van, Eric Tan­en­blatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Tim­mons, War­ren Tomp­kins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Don­gen, Jan van Lo­huizen, Stew­art Ver­dery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee West­ine, Dave Win­ston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

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