January 24th, 2009
05:00 PM ET
6 months ago

Poll shows high early approval rating for Obama

Obama is enjoying a high initial approval rating.
Obama is enjoying a high initial approval rating.

(CNN) - More than two-thirds of Americans approve of President Obama's job performance during his initial days in the White House, an approval rating that significantly exceeds the early poll numbers of his two immediate predecessors.

The new survey by Gallup - the first conducted entirely after Obama took the oath of office Tuesday - found 68 percent of Americans approve of how the new president is handling the job. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's job performance so far.

Watch: Obama's first 100 hours

It's not unusual for new presidents to enter the White House with a high approval rating, but Obama's is markedly higher than the initial approval number of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

According to Gallup, Bush began his initial days as president with a 57 percent approval rating while Bill Clinton kicked off his first term with a 58 percent rating.

Meanwhile, Clinton faced an initial disapproval rating of 20 percent while Bush - who had only secured the presidency after a protracted and divisive recount in Florida - faced an initial disapproval rating of 25 percent.

But the percentage of Americans who approve of Obama's first days in office isn't unprecedented. John F. Kennedy began his term with a 72 percent approval rating while Jimmy Carter and Dwight Eisenhower had early approvals in the high sixties.

Watch: Ed Henry reports on the pressure Obama faces

Still, Obama's 68 percent approval rating is lower than the 84 percent of Americans who, in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, said they approved of how the then-president-elect was handling his transition.

While it's unclear how Obama's approval ratings will change in the initial months of his presidency, history suggests they will likely go up. Of the last eight presidents, six saw their approval numbers increase during the first 100 days of their presidency.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,591 adults from Wednesday-Friday and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (317 Responses)
  1. No On Obama Democrat

    Obviously, they are polling the Obama Worshipers. Steve, there are a lot of Democrats that didn't contribute to this blunder. If you watched him sign the documents to close Guantanamo, he didn't even know what he was doing. He had to keep turning around to ask what they were trying to do. Clinton was correct when she stated during the primary that Obama has never been in charge of anything. He has no idea how to execute anything because he never has. I guess that's why he had to hire most of the old Clinton administration to do the job. We should just have Hillary in the top position because she doesn't have to ask anybody what, or how to do something.

    Obama is using his new position as a training ground. We are all in a lot of trouble.

    January 24, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. Ed

    This tells you how reliable polls are. He hasn't done anthing yet! Germany got into a predicament by idolizing a "savior" If he does good, great but he is no messiah yet, contrary to what Oprah might say. His first effort, was to work to free opressed people in Guantonimo bay that were hell bent on killing Americans, gotta give him credit. Lets all worship a Junior senator with no experience because he is charismatic and we need someone to rescue US from OUR own greed. Poor KSM, don't know who KSM is? Study it or don't vote!

    January 24, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. judy

    See how his rating does when he allows 45 million more Illegals into this country!!

    January 24, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The polls are going to be high still as most Americans still have the dream of "Hope" and "Change" but we still do not have the specifics on what "Change" is according to Obama and the democratic party. We will see when the specifics start affecting all Americans.

    January 24, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. Perusing-Through

    I am surprised it is not 85%.

    It is very easy to level with the American people when you can talk straight and be honest, and not have to worry about the special interest groups and lobbyist that funded your campaign, as with W. Bush. And when you are straight with the people, they will cut you some slack so you can get the job done.

    January 24, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. Chad

    Greatness comes before the fall! Sure he is starting out with great numbers, but let’s watch them dwindle during the next few years as his true, terrorist supporting, anti-American, socialist face begins shows through.

    January 24, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. Remy

    Republicans are crying against abortion and tell it is baby killing but the same Republicans encourage to bomb and kill grownups and in many cases bread winners of families. Republicans and their support for GUN industry is a shame while they bark against abortion. Fetus is not a baby. Those who are crying against abortion, must know the Biological facts than preaching their religion based issues which have no scientific base or truth!

    Obama does good work. People must support him always.

    January 24, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Not Mine

    This is not my president. It will be too long before this God-less, child killing, radical, racist, socialist monster is headed back to thug country.

    May God help us!

    January 24, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Rich

    Evolve,,the rich and the corparation's are the one's creating most of the jobs...alone with the small business's that you cult leader wants the tax out of business...plus federal funding for abortions is wrong..if you want to kill your baby..you pay out of your own pocket...

    January 24, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. James

    Obama has a 68% approval rating in the United States, much higher with the rest of the world. Conservatives keep whining and complaining because they honestly believe that everybody in the world is an idiot except for them. If you conservatives don't want to give the new president a chance, feel free to leave the country at any time... find somewhere that loves Bush. Since Iraq went so well under republican control, why don't you go there and stand on the corner of a street waving an American Flag.

    January 24, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  11. Dan

    When this idiot's Socialist/Marxist/Communist policies begin destroying this country, which they will, his approval rating will be 0%. This man is scary. Get real you Obama suckers: you know nothing about him. He's a lightweight who our country's enemies will soon run over and crush. God save America.

    January 24, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. RN and mother of 2 and grandmother

    I've been an RN for nearly 40 yrs. before and after Roe vs Wade. The truth is that abortions have been done as long as women have had unwanted pregnancies. Rich women will always be able to have a safe abortion law or no law. Poor women are the ones who suffer and die because of dirty back alley abortions. I know because I held their hands as they died of septic infection pre- Roe vs Wade. I never want to see that again. An abortion is between a woman and her doctor. It never should have been a law as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated. It should have just stayed a procedure. And please stops calling it killing babies. They are not babies they are fetuses. I hope that people who are against abortion will adopt a poor woman and help her raise her children.

    January 24, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. Dan

    Oh, and I can't believe someone here listed abortion and gun control as petty issues. Good god!

    January 24, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. Dean

    Stunning that approval ratings are printed within the first week of taking office. What's changed in the last week? There has not been a hint of a rebound in our declining economy. The signing of exec order #1 was politically motivated, and will not make the country safer, let alone have any positive influence on the economy. Exec order #2 is a real head scratcher. Paying for abortions abroad?? No idea how that can help the economy, create jobs, etc. The stimulus plan? Any historical evidence to support pumping that much govt money into the economy? I recall Obama being critical of McCain during 1 of the debates. Labeling him as being part of the Bush administration's 'orgy of spending' during the last 8 yrs. 1 wk in & he proposes spending way more than Bush. I'm left to wonder how these 'approval polls' are conducted. Were a few people (under serious alcoholic influence) questioned at the inaugural ball? I'd be willing to bet that his approval rating would be a lot lower if people were called at WORK & asked how they think the current president is doing.

    January 24, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Haters, get a life!

    A few problems I see with the logic of those who are criticizing....

    "It's not how you start, it's how you finish" (couple this with the ones that bring up post-9/11 Bush ratings) – really? people saying this are BUSH supporters? Bush, who had the worst approval ratings in history at the end of his term!?

    "He couldn't even get the oath right on day one" – have y'all been living under a rock? It is WIDELY known that it was Chief Justice Roberts' mistake, not Obama's. (btw, Roberts is a conservative... who screwed up?)

    "He hasn't done anything yet; the polls are meaningless" – um, how can the same people who say this turn around and criticize his executive orders? You may not LIKE what he did, but he HAS done something!

    And, finally, no one thinks Obama is God or the Messiah...implying so and mocking the phrase is, to me, pretty sac-religious in itself.

    Those of us who support him just recognize that he is getting to work to deliver on many of the issues he spoke of during the campaign. I don't see how it's possible to overlook that he has in fact gotten to work very quickly to address many of the problems we face as a country....you just might not like his solutions. Get over it...the rest of us had to for 8 years...it's your turn now.

    January 24, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  16. SF Serg

    President Obama has done more in his first week than George W. Bush in his 8 years. It's a breath of fresh air to believe in a President who you know is talking straight about his decisions. Make us proud President Obama!

    January 24, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  17. R

    I wish CNN could post an article on how they take those polls and why less than 2,000 opinions matters more than the rest of the world. Sure i approve him so far but he has not done anything yet. What matters to me is if he will do a good job.

    January 25, 2009 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
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