What Ever Happened to Obama's "Bin Laden Bounce"?

Recent polling suggests that the successful raid on Usama Bin Laden’s compound last month has had at best, a modest and indeed, short-term impact on the president’s standings.

To be sure, President Obama garners justifiably high ratings for leadership generally and on the War on Terror. But there is no sense that his overall political standing has changed.

Indeed, President Obama’s job approval ratings are back at their pre-raid level in the latest Real Clear Politics average 51.8%-44.4%, and has dropped below fifty percent in the latest Gallup and Rasmussen polls.

It is clear that the Bin Laden raid alone will not be enough to reelect Mr. Obama in 2012.

The only way the President can turn these numbers around is to demonstrate real leadership on fiscal issues.

The 2% drop in the stock market yesterday underscores the real and fundamental political problem that President Obama and indeed both parties face -- the economy.

The president has consistently garnered economic approval ratings of 40% or less in poll after poll – even in the latest CNN/ORC poll in which his overall approval rating was too high at fifty-four percent.

Indeed, the underlying economic issues that America is facing remain clear and are dragging on his popularity.

The implications of this for the 2012 election are clear. The fact that the President got no real bounce at all and saw no fundamental change in his ratings indicates the profound disquiet American voters feel with current economic circumstances.

Given these findings, while it remains uncertain as to whom President Obama’s GOP challenger will ultimately be – his poor ratings on the economy leave him deeply vulnerable.

Indeed, in trial heats for President against GOP primary contender Mitt Romney who has yet to get traction – the president’s lead is only in the single digits.

To be sure, the Republicans are largely discouraged and discredited – with a budget plan that could potentially cost them control of the House of Representatives in the 2012 election.

Indeed, Democrat Kathy Hochul’s win in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts in the NY-26 special election last week was a clear repudiation of the budget plan put forth by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin -- which most Americans understand will eliminate both Medicare and Medicaid without offering any alternative –
If the president can fill the leadership void and assert his leadership on the budget, the deficit, and the debt he may enjoy a lasting political benefit that could impact his chances in 2012.

But in the absence of such leadership, it is very clear that President Obama's best asset in the 2012 election campaign will not be his record, but the Republicans – who lack a message, an agenda, and a clear frontrunner.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist and Fox News contributor. His most recent book is "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.Arielle Alter Confino contributed to this piece.