In a comment to an earlier post about politicizing the anniversary of killing Osama, I speculated that there might well be no bump in Obama’s numbers at all. I was both right and wrong. Both daily tracking polls showed a bump in Obama’s approval rating to as much as 51% approval. Those numbers are slightly off their peak today, but that may be sampling noise. Reminding voters that Osama is dead as a result of his decisions appears to improved voters perceptions of his job performance. So I was wrong about public reaction.
So where was I right? The daily head to head polling between Obama and Romney tell a different story and it is not one that bodes well for Obama’s reelection. When Obama’s job approval numbers improved, his head to head numbers against Romney did not. Yesterday Gallup showed Obama’s approval at 51% approve / 43% disapprove. However his head to head numbers against Romney were 46%/45%. His performance for reelection under performing his job approval numbers by 5%. Today his approval is at 50% approve / 44% disapprove and his he is tied with Romney 45%/45%. Again he is under performing his approval number by 5%. Assuming that his approval numbers will erode as the bump from the anniversary fades, it will be interesting to see it his under performance gap shrinks or remains.
It is a very bad sign when an incumbent is under performing his job approval by this kind of margin and is under 47%-48% of the head to head vote. It appears that, with the reminder of the killing of Osama, a small segment of voters have changed their overall assessment of his job performance, but these same voters have not changed their minds about his reelection, and were the election to day would not vote for him. This indicates that those who do not support his reelection, are not easily swayed.