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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Sunday’s dramatic rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from a gang of Somali Pirates does not appear to have produced any PirateBump™ for Barack Obama. Gallup has Obama’s approval rating at 62 percent, unchanged from two days earlier. Likewise, Rasmussen has Obama’s approval at 55 percent, also unchanged from two days ago.

The lack of traction in Obama’s favorability scores defies both conventional wisdom and past history. In November 1718, for example, the capture of Blackbeard on orders from Virigina Colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood increased Spotswood’s approval rating from 52 percent to 61 percent, according to polling conducted at that time by the Zogbee Importer of Fine Teas and Polling Companee. Similarly, internal polling conducted by Emperor Charles V, King of Spain, showed his favorability scores increasing from a merely mortal 97 percent to a divine and perfect 100 percent after the killing of the infamous Barbary Pirate Oruç Reis (Barbarrosa) in 1518.

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