It is one of the most unfortunate political idioms around. As a cat lover, I genuinely despise the metaphor of a "dead cat bounce" in describing the transitory nature of a politician's uptick in the polls.
In the case of President Obama's increase in approval rating following the assassination of Osama bin Laden, it is, nevertheless, apropos of exactly what has transpired.
Hotline on Call:
The bump President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden more than two weeks ago in Pakistan has vanished completely, according to the latest Gallup Tracking poll released Monday.
Obama's approval rating is now at 46 percent, equal to his approval rating in the last tracking poll conducted before Obama addressed Americans late on May 1 and informed them of bin Laden's death. Forty-four percent of Americans now disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president.
According to the Gallup poll, Obama's approval rating crested at 52 percent after the bin Laden killing. His disapproval rating never fell lower than 40 percent.
Obama's bounce is smaller in magnitude and shorter in duration than the bumps enjoyed by other presidents over the past 70 years, according to a study by Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. For example, George W. Bush received a 15-point bump after the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 -- a bounce that lasted seven weeks.
The poll also comes the same day as Gallup announced that three in four Americans "name some type of economic issue as the 'most important problem' facing the country today -- the highest net mentions of the economy in two years. Those numbers, combined with Obama's fleeting boost, suggest the economy remains -- by far -- the dominant issue of the 2012 presidential campaign.
A very dead cat, indeed.