The daring military operation that killed Osama bin Laden has boosted Americans’ confidence that the United States can succeed in the war against Islamic terrorism and faith in President Obama as commander in chief, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Monday finds.
But those surveyed also are braced for retaliation. More than 6 in 10 say acts of terrorism against the U.S. are likely in the next several weeks, a significant bump and the highest rate of public nervousness in eight years.
For a nation battered by bad economic news, the end of the decade-long manhunt for al-Qaeda’s founder has brought at least a moment of good feeling. Approval for the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan is nearly universal, and overwhelming majorities give credit to the U.S. military and the CIA.
A majority also credits Obama and former president George W. Bush.
“In the short term his (Obama’s) job approval will go up, but once this period of elation subsides, everything we know suggests the fundamentals will take hold and it will decline to about where it was,” says Richard Eichenberg, a political scientist at Tufts who studies polling.
However, the boost for Obama as a commander in chief who can handle national security issues could endure, Eichenberg predicts. “The long, patient planning; the risk-taking to get it done the way he thought it needed to be done — all that portrays a president who is a very competent decision-maker.”
In the poll:
•On who gets credit, 98% say the U.S. military deserves a great deal or moderate amount of credit for the successful operation, and 88% say that of the CIA. Obama gets credit from 71% and Bush from 52%.
However, 47% say Bush deserves “not much” or no credit at all; just 28% say that of Obama.
•On the U.S. war against Islamic terrorism, 39% say they have “a lot” more confidence than before and 34% have “a little” more confidence.
•On Obama as commander in chief, 32% say they feel a lot more confident; 21% feel a little more confident.
Read more here: poll
Interactive map comparing approval ratings of Presidents since Harry Truman: Presidential tracker