For the record, 8:10 a.m., May 11: An earlier version of this post stated that, according to a new AP poll, confidence in the GOP to create jobs fell 3%, with Democrats seeing a 5% boost in that category, and that by about a 20% margin, those surveyed said they have more confidence in Democrats to take care of Social Security and Medicare. The poll found that confidence in the GOP to create jobs fell 3 percentage points, with Democrats seeing a 5-point boost. The margin on Social Security/Medicare issue was 20 percentage points.
The AP/GfK poll has 60% of Americans surveyed saying they approve of the president's job performance. Obama hadn't hit that mark in the AP survey since late May 2009, a few months after taking office.
The poll contrasts with more sober numbers set forth by Gallup last week in the wake of the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Gallup's poll found that Obama's rating had jumped to 51%t. But both surveys showed similar leaps of around 6 or 7 percentage points, suggesting that, indeed, more people are rallying around the president.
AP poll respondents, by an overwhelming margin (71%), said they have confidence in the president in combating terrorism.
The polls show that people remain laser-focused on the economy, and the poll showed some gains there as well, as a majority of those surveyed (52%) said they approve of Obama's handling of the issue, a five-point jump. By the same margin, respondents said they approve of the president's handling of unemployment, which has stubbornly sat at around 9% nationwide.
The poll also shows independent voters returning to the president's fold. If the GOP wants to take heart, the poll shows Republicans have the most credibility on issues involving the federal deficit (with the party essentially tied with Democrats).
But there are warning signs for Republican presidential candidates. Confidence in the GOP to create jobs fell 3 percentage points, with Democrats seeing a 5-point boost in that category. And most notable, by about a 20-point margin, those surveyed said they have more confidence in Democrats to take care of Social Security and Medicare.
The latter figure becomes more relevant if Republican leaders in the House continue to support Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to radically reshape Medicare.
Updated: Polls can be fickle things. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll, also out Thursday, gives Obama just a three-point bounce--to 49 %. And it concludes deep skepticism remains among the public for the president's handling of the economy. But there was good news for the White House in this poll, as well, as 45 % of Americans surveyed now believe Obama will win re-election, up from 35 % last October.