President Barack Obama’s approval ratings may have slipped in some polling data. But there’s a tiny bit of good news for him on an issue that his Republican critics have been whacking away at for weeks now: terrorism.
A USA Today/Gallup poll says public approval for Obama’s handling of terrorism has risen since the Christmas Day bomb attempt, with more Americans than not giving him their approval on a political issue likely to rank high in this year’s congressional election campaign.
The numbers still aren’t great for the president, however. The thumbs up comes from less than half of the public — 49 percent – and those expressing disapproval are close behind at 46 percent. That three-point gap is well within the Jan. 8-10 survey’s 4 percentage point sampling error. Approval is also way down from May, when 55 percent of Americans endorsed his handling of terrorism.
But the latest numbers are up from the days before Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight. Back then, only 45 percent of the public approved of Obama on terrorism, vs. 47 percent who disapproved.
That’s interesting because Republicans have been doing their level best since Christmas to criticize Obama’s response to the failed attack, in hopes of making voters think the president and the Democrats are soft on national security.