February 20th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama approval rating drops, but still high

A new national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.
A new national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that six in 10 support the economic stimulus package that Obama signed into law Tuesday.

Obama's approval rating stands at 67 percent in the new poll. That's down 9 points from the most recent previous CNN poll, which was conducted in early February. But a breakdown by party suggests that the drop doesn't mean that the new president is in serious trouble.

"Since nearly all of the decline came among Republicans, this doesn't indicate that the honeymoon is already over," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Democrats, Obama's approval went from 96 percent to 92 percent; among Republicans, it dropped from 50 percent in early February to 31 percent now."

Among Independents, the president's approval rating now stands at 61 percent, down 6 points from earlier in the month.

Sixty percent of those questioned in the poll favored the economic stimulus plan, with 39 percent opposing the package. The $787 billion law is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble, and by cutting taxes.

Do Americans think the stimulus will work?

A slight majority, 53 percent, said the plan will improve economic conditions, while 44 percent said it won't help stimulate the economy. And only 31 percent of those questioned indicated the package will improve their own financial situation, with two out of three saying the stimulus won't help them personally.

"Americans often don't see a connection between big government programs and their own wallets," Holland said. "That's what makes the various bailout packages such a hard sell with the public, and why the White House might have felt that they needed to include tax cuts in the stimulus package."

Of those 53 percent who said the plan will work, 19 percent felt it will start improving the economy by the end of the year, with 16 percent saying it will make a difference by next year and another 18 percent feeling it will take longer than two years.

"It goes without saying that Democrats support the stimulus bill and Republicans oppose it," Holland added. "Nearly nine in 10 Democrats favored the plan while three-quarters of Republicans thought it was a bad idea."

Forty-nine percent said they think the passage of the economic stimulus plan was a major victory for President Obama, with 28 percent calling it a minor accomplishment and 22 percent indicating it was not a positive achievement.

The bill passed Congress less than four weeks after Obama took office. It passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. In the Senate, three of the chamber's 41 Republicans backed the bill.

The survey's release comes one month after Obama's inauguration as president. Fifty-eight percent of those polled said Obama has so far met their expectations and another 16 percent suggested that he's exceeded their expectations. Nearly one in four said that the president has fallen short of what they expected.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 people questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Polls • President Obama
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Ken in Dallas

    Well that's a relief. If the Republicans all liked him, it would mean he's a pushover.

    February 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Patty in the CA mountains

    Did we expect the republicans to say "he's awesome".....since the republicans say Obama is terrible and the American people say the republicans are terrible, I think the results speak for themselves.

    February 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. patrick

    I can imagine how Republicans would feel this way, but your policies have had plenty of years in practice – and look where we are.

    Time for a more balanced approach to running this country.

    February 20, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. s. delean-botkin

    The man has been office 33 days – can you tell me another president who has accomplished so much in so little time, with such a huge burden on his shoulders. And the burden was not of his making

    Give him a chance – we are very, very tired of all the negativity in the media

    February 20, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Jon in CA

    Wait until the next 401k statement arrives in the mail....

    Once America sees the "Change" Obama brought to their finances – they will give Obama the appropriate title:

    Worst President Ever.

    February 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. america first

    He's the best thing that's happened to America in over 8 years.

    February 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Pete

    This is just silly. This guy has been the ONLY politician to step up, recognize what's really wrong instead of burying his head and arguing over political turf, put meaningful and well structured plans of action in place quickly, and now he's disappointing??? That's like blaming the firefighter for trying to put out the fire you started in your own house!!!

    February 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. brian bernard

    What he's doing doesn't take over night. You people. Bush didn't do nothing so give him a chance. And itsn't just about white all the time

    February 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. D. Lo

    Can we give the guy more than 3 weeks to decide if he's doing a good job or not? Bush didn't get us in this mess overnight. Obama can't snap his fingers and make everything flowers and rainbows. Give me a break!

    February 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Part of the 33%

    What happen to hope and change. It looks like same old same old. More governement spending and continued fighting abroad.
    Where the hope and change for the middle class? oh yea in the pork that isn't pork stimulus

    February 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Marc in Virginia

    Count me among the 8 percent of Democrats who thinks he's doing a lousy job so far.

    February 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Manny

    Folks.........It has only been a month......The last president had eight years and never had this kind of scrutiny in such a short period of time.

    February 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. In Michigan

    The depression that's just starting up (even though nobody's admitting it officially yet) won't help...

    February 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. j

    What are Congressional Republicans polling at? Oh, that's right, less than 20%.

    February 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Maureen

    Don't people have more to worry about than rating the president? He has been in office one month and is working to repiar the damage left by the last administration who really made a mess of things. I think Obama is doing great considering what he was left with and still trying to get his administration in line.

    February 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Luis

    Give me a break...I DO NOT REMEMBER A SINGLE REPUPLICAN SAYING THEY WERE DISSAPOINTMENT IN GEORGE W!!! AND HE IS THE ONE WITH THE REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED CONGRESS THAT GOT US IN THIS MESS. IT TOOK US 8 LONG YEARS TO GET US IN THIS MESS AND DEFINITELY IS GOING TO TAKE LONGER THAN A MONTH TO GET US OUT.
    PLEASE!!!! INSTEAD OF CRITICIZING, START THINKING ABOUT WHAT EACH ONE OF YOU CAN DO TO HELP THIS PRESIDENT BE SUCCESSFUL.
    I AM VOLUNTEERING IN MY COMMUNITY, AND DONATING WHENEVER IS POSSIBLE...AND I AM GIVING 200% TO MY JOB AND MY FAMILY. IF EVERYONE JUST STOPS THE WHINING, AND START DOING SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE OUR COUNTRY AND OUR LIVES WILL IMPROVE. SO GIVE ME A BREAK, BE POSITIVE AND GET WORKING ON ANYTHING.

    February 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Demo Joe

    You had time to help George Bush and Chenney fix this country. You diddn't so SHUT UP

    February 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Yamini from San Diego

    This is all pure BS....

    He may not have solved the problem but for sure he is MUCH MUCH better than "MY WAY OR HIGHWAY"

    The less optimistic we (citizens) are , the deeper hole we create – simple.

    Forget about this RNC and Democrats and the like – they are all mothapakkahs...

    February 20, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. dp - neptune

    obama is ok, the polls mean nothing, we love and have faith in God working thru him

    February 20, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. dp - neptune

    pres obama is ok, the polls mean nothing, we love and have faith in God working thru him

    February 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    Two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.

    That's a big number and the one precent that didn't aprove are the wineing evil Republicans. They may be disappointing but the people that voted him in are not. So the Repulbicans keep up this war against President Obama and watch what will happen to them in 2010.

    February 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Slider

    Keep telling yourselves that Obama is doing well. Only a narcoleptic neophyte would possibly think that the stumbling and fumbling of this administration would result in high approval ratings.

    It appears those on the dole have computers, and visit the political ticker at CNN.

    Enjoy it while it lasts, ghetto-trash.

    February 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Island girl

    The rain is falling but the sun will shine tomorrow.

    February 20, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. AEK

    Just curious, where did the Republicans think the money was going to come from to replace all they gave away to their rich friends and corrupt corporate buddies? Unfortunately you can't open the doors to the treasury for eight years and then complain about the people trying to fix your mess, or maybe you can. It looks like the people of the United States have them figured out though. I think President Obama will sleep just fine with his 60+% approval rating. Still haven't seen "a plan" from the obstructionists yet!

    February 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Todd

    That is where Bush's was in his first year, this is only the first month and it is dropping rapidly.

    February 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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