President Obama’s approval ratings have risen to 60 percent according to a recent poll—their highest level in two years—and more than half of Americans believe he is worthy of reelection.

The poll was conducted by the Associated Press and marketing research firm GfK from May 5 to May 9, just days after U.S. forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Results are based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,001 adults from across the country, according to the AP.

Obama acquired high ratings on foreign policy and the economy, with 52 percent of those polled applauding his handling of the economy and the nation’s job crisis. More people than in previous polls were optimistic about next year’s employment prospects.

Of those surveyed, 73 percent said they were confident that the president can successfully grapple with terrorist threats, and pollsters reported that they overwhelmingly approved of the U.S. special forces mission that killed bin Laden.

The survey also reveals that many political independents have returned to Obama’s corner. Nearly two-thirds of the self-proclaimed independents said they approve of the president, up from about 50 percent in March. Although they flocked to support him for president in 2008, many independents soured on Obama after enactment of his administration’s controversial health care bill.

Obama’s overall approval rating is up seven percent from March. His approval crested at 64 percent in May 2009, four months after he was sworn into office; his lowest point, 47 percent, came after last fall’s mid-term elections.

Although other surveys conducted after bin Laden’s death showed an uptick in Obama’s approval, results were typically not as favorable as those in the AP poll.

The survey results were not all rosy, however: Nearly two-thirds of respondents disapproved of Obama’s management of gas prices, and less than half favor his handling of the federal budget deficit and taxes.

Further, 52 percent say the country is still going in the wrong direction, although that number fell 10 percent from the last poll.

The AP noted that 46 percent of the survey’s respondents identified themselves as Democrats or closely aligned to Democratic views, while 29 percent said they were Republicans. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.


Shernay Williams

Special to the AFRO