NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- President Barack Obama's approval rating has risen to 60%, according to an

Associated Press-GfK poll

taken after

U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden

.

The results of the national survey of 1,001 adults conducted between May 5 and May 9 showed that Obama's approval rating reached 60% for the first time since late May 2009, up from 53% in late March.

President Obama's approval rating climbs to 60%.

A comfortable majority of the American public believes that Obama is a strong leader who will keep the nation safe, as 73% of voters said they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats.

The percentage of American voters who say the country is headed in the right direction increased to 45% from 35% in March, while 52% say it's on the wrong track.

Still, more than half of Americans say President Obama deserves to be re-elected in November 2012; 53% of voters said that Obama should be re-elected, making it the first time in an AP-GfK poll that more people said he should get a second term than not.

Despite the sluggish economic recovery in the U.S., 52% of voters said they approve of Obama's stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency. Also, 52% of voters said that they like how he's handling the

nation's high unemployment rate

.

Overall, Obama's approval rating is up from 53% in March and a 47% low following the mid-term congressional elections in the fall of 2010, in which Republicans gained control of the House and won seats in the Senate. His approval rating hit a high of 64% in May 2009, a few months after he was sworn into office.

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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