Do Americans, even in anxious times, prefer an optimistic leader or an angry one?
I've heard several people on talk radio and friends in casual conversation assert that the President's taking of bin Laden's scalp will assure him reelection in 2012.
Don't count on it.
Before this event, Obama's poll numbers were in the low to mid-40s, which is very low. And a huge percentage of Americans thought the country was on the wrong track.
These numbers had nothing to do with bin Laden still being on the loose.
Instead, they had everything to do with the economy being in terrible shape, and unemployment being stubbornly high, and gas prices even higher.
While Obama did get a bounce the past couple of days, the gravity of the economy is guaranteed to bring that bounce down.
Before bin Laden's assassination, Obama was way behind in several states he carried in 2008, including Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana. And he's neck in neck in Ohio and Wisconsin.
Aside from the economy, Obama is plagued by intense hostility on the right and a lack of enthusiasm on the left.
The demographic groups that put him over the top last time -- African Americans, Latinos, labor, progressives, and young people -- aren't thrilled with his record.
Last time, they came out to make history.
This time, that impetus is no longer there, and that spells trouble for the President.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Bin Laden's Crimes, and Ours."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.