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Obama poll: Bin Laden is dead. Now how about a job?

Latest poll on president's performance shows weakness on economy

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Yes, killing Osama bin Laden was good for President Barack Obama's national security street cred.

But as any successful politician or cynical economist will tell you, getting reelected takes more than swagger.

It takes a strong economy.

And while the president did get a bump after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama remains vulnerable on economic issues:

  • Just one third of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction
  • Less than four in 10 approve of Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy
  • Nearly 70 percent think the economy will get worse or stay the same in the next year

“This is a poll that should both fortify the president and frighten the president as he looks ahead to re-election,” Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, told MSNBC.

Here are the specific numbers that might keep the president awake at night as next year's presidential election gets underway:

  • 37 percent approve of the president’s handling of the economy, versus 58 percent who disapprove
  • 31 percent believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months; 43 percent think it will stay the same
  • 25 percent say it will get worse

The key number, of course, will be jobs.

That's because people tend to feel more optimistic about their own economic prospects when they have paychecks flowing in regularly. And that, in turn, leads to higher consumer confidence, which sparks more spending and faster economic growth.

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The latest news on that front has been mixed.

The U.S. economy, the world's largest, added 244,000 jobs in April. But the unemployment rate ticked up to 9 percent, and almost 14 million people in the U.S. are without jobs.

And there's nothing a Navy Seal team can do about that.

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Pete Souza/White House

President Obama shakes hands with Adm. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. CIA Director Leon Panetta and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton look on.

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