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Fox News Poll: Mixed Views on Whether Bin Laden Raid Was Gutsy Call

American voters are evenly divided over how tough a decision it was for President Barack Obama to order a Navy Seal raid on Usama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound this month.

In fact, while 48 percent of voters think signing off on the raid was a “gutsy move” by Obama, some 49 percent think it was a “no-brainer” decision any president would have made under the circumstances.

By two-to-one Democrats are more likely to think the decision to go after bin Laden was a gutsy move (65-33 percent). For Republicans it’s the reverse -- they are more than twice as likely to call it a no-brainer (69-28 percent).

Independent voters are more likely to say it wasn’t such a big deal than to see it as a gutsy call (52-43 percent).

These are just some of the findings from a Fox News poll released Wednesday.

Click here for full poll results.

Overall, President Obama’s job performance ratings have improved since the killing of bin Laden. Currently 55 percent of voters approve and 41 percent disapprove. Before the raid, 47 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved (25-27 April 2011).

The president’s job rating jumped not only among Democrats and independents, but also among GOP voters. Some 19 percent of Republicans approve of the president’s performance in the new poll, up from 11 percent (April 25-27). Obama received a similar bump among his party faithful, as 88 percent of Democrats approve, up from 80 percent previously.

Among independents voters the president’s approval climbed 5 percentage points to 43 percent. Still, nearly half of independents -- 49 percent -- disapprove.

On the whole, voters think killing bin Laden was the right action to take (77 percent). Fewer than one voter in five would have preferred he be captured and brought to trial in the United States (17 percent).

In a rare example of agreement, large majorities of Republicans (83 percent), Democrats (75 percent) and independents (72 percent) view the killing of bin Laden as the best outcome.

Catching bin Laden was something that was expected by most voters: 68 percent believed the U.S. would get him in the end, while 28 percent were surprised the U.S. caught him.

A 53-percent majority thinks President Obama has been taking the right amount of credit for the killing, while 31 percent say he’s taking too much credit and 12 percent say not enough.

While 22 percent of voters think the U.S. is safer as a result bin Laden’s death, 30 percent think the country is more at risk. Nearly half -- 47 percent -- think there hasn’t been much of a change. For comparison, in 2004, a 63 percent majority of voters thought the country would be safer if bin Laden were captured or killed (3-4 March 2004).

Most voters (70 percent) think enhanced interrogation techniques were at least somewhat important to bin Laden’s ultimate capture, and 63 percent support allowing the CIA to use such methods when trying to obtain information from terrorist suspects.

Even so, by 51 percent to 44 percent, voters say Justice Department investigations of agents using harsh interrogation techniques should continue.

Voters agree with the government’s decision to keep the pictures of bin Laden’s body out of public view. If it were up to them, by 67 percent to 30 percent, voters would not release the photos.

Likewise, about 7 in 10 say they personally would rather not see the photos (69 percent), while 28 percent do want to see them.

More men (35 percent) than women (22 percent) want to see the bin Laden photos. And voters under the age of 35 are more than three times as likely as those ages 65 and over to want to see the pictures (39 percent and 11 percent respectively).

In deciding against releasing the photos, Obama said the country didn’t need to “spike the football,” even though people are pleased the terrorist leader is gone.

What about the celebrations in the United States? Over half of voters (58 percent) think they were “appropriate,” while nearly a third describe them as “over the top” (30 percent). Hardly any -- 8 percent -- say the celebrations were “too quiet.”

Finally, while some people -- 15 percent -- think there’s a chance bin Laden is still alive, most absolutely believe he is dead (78 percent).

And only 3 percent think the al Qaeda leader was greeted by 72 virgins in heaven.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 910 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 15 to May 17. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.