BIN LADEN, OBAMA AND POLLS!

For some Polls are the most important thing in Politics. For those of us who are sane – they represent a fun diversion or a complete waste of time. This...

For some Polls are the most important thing in Politics. For those of us who are sane – they represent a fun diversion or a complete waste of time. This week pundits were quick to jump on the question of how Obama’s Poll numbers would be affected by the death of Bin Laden – in fact that discussion started I believe as early as Monday – just a few hours after many of us heard the news of the villain’s death. Rather than focusing on the relief felt by millions world-wide, our rather shallow news media, from MSNBC to Fox to Huffington Post all seemed to salivate over what this assassination might mean for the 2012 election.

Sadly the media also focused, yet again, on conspiracy rather than fact and perspective in the days following the successful military operation but that’s a topic for another day.

Mark Blumenthal, a solid writer and researcher over at the Huffington Post did a blog entry today about how the bump in Obama’s approval rating won’t last – and unlike his counterparts at CNN and other news outlets, instead of focusing on the bump fading with time he backed up his claim that it was due to changing perceptions about war – essentially that it will be less of an issue in 2012 than in previous elections, say like in 2005. Now Mark is quoting a Pew Center bit of research – to be fair – but I found it troubling that this study compared 2005 to 2012 – incredibly different elections – 2005 was gearing up for a mid-term election – we’re gearing up for a national election with an incumbent president that just captured and killed the most wanted man since Adolf Hitler on the planet.

Incredibly different circumstances.

After all we need to remember in 2005 Bush had still failed to win either of the two wars really and Bin Laden was still on the run and our young men and women were going to be at war for years still to come.

What Mark and others are also perhaps ignoring is that there will be many moments between now and next November when the country will be reminded of this weekend’s heroic victory. On September 11, 2011 we will mark the ten year anniversary of those attacks and during the Presidential Election the issue will come up again and again – especially if the news media continues on it’s binge of conspiracy theorizing – after all here’s a debate question sure to be asked of Obama’s competitors “What would you have done if you had gotten actionable intelligence of Bin Laden’s whereabouts?” Or perhaps the more direct “Do you think the assassination of Osama bin Laden was illegal?”

The reality is it’s too early to tell how Bin Laden’s death or the economy will impact the 2012 election . Far too early. After all – at this point in 2007 no one was talking about the economy but one month before voting day it tanked. For all we know one month before the 2012 election the economy will show very strong growth and some other game changer will come into play. Mark and others need to step out of statistics and start looking at the larger picture. By 2012 those who have been employed (the majority of voters) will feel even more at ease possibly, by then we would have started an aggressive pull out of Afghanistan (notice Taliban today are considering leaving Al Queda – look for a treaty soon), by then Libya will have stabilized in some direction not to mention that entire region will be going through the boring details of legislating their new Democracies – all of these things will effect the 2012 election – how? We won’t really know until we see the returns on election night.