The Partisan Divide Over Who Gets Credit for Osama bin Laden's Death

By Chris Good

Osama Bin Laden

Who deserves the most credit for Osama bin Laden's death? It depends whom you ask, and different partisan groups are answering the question differently.

Predictably, Democrats give more credit to President Obama, while Republicans prefer to credit his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

Only one major polling agency has asked about credit for the kill: the Pew Research Center, which surveyed 654 U.S. adults by phone on Monday night, the day after Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. The poll found a nine-percent approval bounce for the president.

Pew has sent over its full partisan breakdown, explaining how self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and Independents assign credit for the kill. Here are some rudimentary Excel charts expressing those results:

GOP credit 3.jpg
Dems credit chart 3.jpg
Ind credit 3.jpg

It's questionable how strongly we should rely on an overnight poll the day after a major news event, but, so far, this is the only indication we have.

Obama received 35 percent more "great deal" responses from Democrats than Republicans; Bush received 27 percent more "great deal" responses from Republicans than Democrats.

Interestingly enough, the partisanship of Obama's approval bounce is also up for debate. Pew found that Obama's standing did not increase, at all, in the eyes of Republicans; a CBS poll released Wednesday found a 15-percent bounce among Republicans since April 20 (up from a nine percent approval rating to 24 percent).

Here's the full numerical breakdown from Pew:

Credit/Obama -

Dem: 52% great deal; 34% some; 9% not much; 4% none at all.
Rep: 17% great deal; 44% some; 24% not much; 14% none at all.
Ind: 36% great deal; 44% some; 11% not much; 8% none at all.

Credit/Bush -

Dem: 4% great deal; 31% some; 20% not much; 41% none at all.
Rep: 31% great deal; 50% some; 7% not much; 10% none at all.
Ind: 16% great deal; 33% some; 18% not much; 31% none at all.

Credit/Military -

Dem: 82% great deal; 14% some; 0% not much; 3% none at all.
Rep: 96% great deal; 3% some; 0% not much; 0% none at all.
Ind: 88% great deal; 9% some; * not much; * none at all.

Credit/CIA, other intelligence agencies -

Dem: 64% great deal; 23% some; 4% not much; 3% none at all.
Rep: 75% great deal; 16% some; 2% not much; 1% none at all.
Ind: 68% great deal; 26% some; 1% not much; 3% none at all.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-partisan-divide-over-who-gets-credit-for-osama-bin-ladens-death/238380/