Washington (CNN) – Furloughed jobs, interrupted services, and the potential economic ramifications aside, top Republican strategist Karl Rove is warning a government shutdown is likely to strengthen President Obama's hand as he heads into his reelection campaign.
In his weekly polling memo, Rove notes the 1995 government shutdown bolstered President Clinton's image in the eyes of voters as a strong leader, positioning him for a relatively easy reelection victory one year later.
"The shutdowns helped improve Clinton's political standing, boosting both his approval rating and perceptions of him as a strong leader," writes Rove. "At the time, poll watchers noted that, 'the only time Clinton's ratings have improved substantially the past year as a result of his actions has been when he adopted a strategy of confrontation.'"
Rove reports Clinton's approval rating saw nearly a double-digit jump during the 1995 government shutdown and continued to climb as the reelection campaign began in earnest.
Meanwhile, while only 37 percent of voters viewed Clinton as a strong leader in June of 1995, that number shot up to 53 percent six months later as a result of his confrontations with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republican leaders over the budget issue.
"While the government shutdowns didn't jeopardize Republicans' hold on Congress, they helped President Clinton position himself for a successful 1996 reelection," concludes Rove. "President Obama's ratings as a strong leader have slipped this year…Republicans should be careful not to let him recover as he gears up for his 2012 reelection campaign."