Nate Silver at the NY Times, addressing the inevitable question as to how the success of the bin Laden operation helps Obama’s electoral chances, does not see a long term electoral advantage arising from the killing of Osama bin Laden:
Yes, this is going to help Mr. Obama — to some degree or another — in November 2012. And yes, it’s also going to make Mr. Obama look much more formidable in the near-term.
But I’m not sure that the magnitude of the bump that Mr. Obama might get in the Gallup tracking poll is going to be especially predictive of how much the residue of this news might produce for him 19 months from now….
But, the 2012 election was probably not going to revolve around national security. Instead, the Republican nominee was probably going to attempt to make the campaign about the size of government and the future of the welfare state: how to deal with entitlement programs in the face of an increasing national debt.
This news may not change the focal point of the campaign. And it may not cause Americans to forget about the direction of the economy, which they remain largely unhappy about.
The biggest mistake that Republican candidates could make would be to be intimated by the approval ratings of a president who, while not easy to defeat, may still be quite vulnerable in November 2012.
I tend to agree with Silver, because he confirms my own views. (Funny how that works.)
I’ll go a little further than Silver, and predict that there will not be a large short term increase in Obama’s approval rating, mostly because killing bin Laden — while very important — was not the center of criticism of Obama.
The aggressive posture taken by Obama towards the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan, until now mostly from drones, was the rare issue in which Obama received strong support from Republicans, and weak support from Democrats.
Obama’s electoral fortune and Osama’s existence on this earth largely were unconnected.
So don’t take the in-your-face antics we’re seeing on the part of Democrats too seriously; it’s still the economy and big government, stupid. And they know it.