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Popularity boost for Obama

The successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden will give a much-needed boost to President Barack Obama's flagging popularity ratings.

The world leader, who stressed his personal involvement in the events leading to bin Laden's death, has seen his popularity with US voters fall significantly since his election to the presidency in November 2008.

News of bin Laden's end came little more than a month after a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that only 17% of Americans regarded President Obama as a strong military leader.

Nearly half of those polled shortly after the United States and its allies began bombing Libya viewed Mr Obama as a cautious and consultative commander-in-chief, and more than a third saw him as indecisive in military matters.

Of those polled, 48% described Mr Obama's leadership as commander-in-chief as "cautious and consultative", 36% as "indecisive and dithering", and 17% as "strong and decisive" in a question that offered only those three choices.

Job approval ratings for the president have also touched an all-time low of 41% recently with one polling organisation, compared with a 69% rating in early 2009.

Mr Obama, who recently announced his intention to stand for a second term in office in 2012, is due to visit Britain later this month.

The US leader will travel to London with his wife Michelle from May 24 to 26, the first state visit by an American president since that of George Bush in 2003.

The Obamas are set to receive a full ceremonial welcome as they arrive for their stay at Buckingham Palace, where a state banquet will be held in their honour.

During the visit, Mr Obama will also address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall.