February 20th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
9 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. WhoCares?

    "That is true, but since his opposition has not been converted to his way of thinking, this means that reaching across the aisle is now a broken promise. Put it on the list."

    What?? What broken logic is that?

    Because Republicans have slapped him in the face even as he reaches consistently (See Gregg) across the aisle it becomes a broken promise from Obama?

    You conservatives are just beyond repair.

    February 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Randy S.

    Let's see:
    No lobbyists in administration – check
    No criminals (tax cheats) in admin. – check
    At least 96 hours to review legislation before a vote – check
    No pork on legislation – check
    Close Gitmo, unless we can't – check
    Out of Iraq in 16 months, unless we can't – check
    Bipartisan legislation – check

    Seven broken promises and/or outright lies in only 30 days. It's gonna be a long four years. All you Obama backers are gonna need to stock up on the Kool-Ade.

    February 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. slickingdom

    After 1 month and already judgement is being set ? I think that people are
    forgetting that the George W. Bush (republicans) created the economic
    chaos that were are in today. Barack Obama comes up with a solution
    to fix it and his approval rating is at question ? Bush did nothing but give
    the banks $300 billion of unaccountable U.S. taxpayers money then his
    term ended. The banks haven't delivered anything in that respect.
    This is something that citizens need to keep in mind when it's time to repay. The only fools here are the one that wish failure on President
    Obama. He is delivering what he said he would despite the fact of polls.

    February 20, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. You know the Republican party is toxic when ... Palin bails on NRCC & CPAC


    100% agree with this statement, a majority doesn't care what CNN thinks, and an insignificant percentage hardly worth mentioning listen to Limpbone, Insanity, O'Reviley, Ingrateham, Coultergeist, Glum Blech, Mulchin and the like and then post their "talking points" from the previous night's broadcast like preprogrammed, mindless, little amoebas without a single, original thought of their own.

    February 20, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Sharon

    Wow..We really need to listen to the repubs..Who cares what they think!!! It was their party that got us where we are today..down the toilet!! And it's going take a lot longer than 3 weeks to clean up Dumbya's 8 year mess!!! The GOP...the party of NO is where it should be..in Exile..if you want some REAL news watch MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow!! Get the Facts!!

    February 20, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Paul from Kissimmee

    Just wait until he turns us into a socialist state. Change you can believe in. Change Cuba believed in.

    February 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Lesley

    @ no corporate poliltics – just because the opposition has not been converted to his way of thinking doesn't mean that he didn't reach across the aisle. The Repubs even blasted their own senators for actually sitting down and attempting to work out a compromise to the stimulus plan. If they will attack their own, what chance does the "opposition" have? The Repubs weren't interested in negotations but rather wanted to stubbornly continue with their own agenda. Their opposition refused to continue doing business as usual. That was a promise that Obama made and did keep.

    February 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. donna

    He's not all doom and gloom..he is reality..if he were painting a rosy picture folks would complain that he is ignoring the problems of America...he can't satisfy everyone and he has the job for 4 years so I don't think he really cares much about a weekly poll...

    He has done more work in a month than the SHRUB did in 8 years...and he, Pelosi and Reid aren't pointing the country towards bankruptcy, we were ALREADY signing the Chapter 11 papers when Bush, Cheney and the rest started spending billions a month on a horrible war....

    February 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    When CEOs care more about their personal wealth than the success of the businesses they run, capitalism fails.

    We have seen another example (and there have been several throughout history) of why capitalism can be either the greatest good on earth or the greatest evil. We have business that are so large that the fate of the world economy depends on the ethics and morality of a few thousand people.

    It isn't about capitalism, democracy, socialism or communism, it is about people. The beauty of capitalism is that it uses the inherent greed and selfishness of mankind to do good things. But when it is corrupted as it appears to be, we could be on the verge of the next dark age.

    February 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Adam

    Do they take a new poll every 30 seconds?

    February 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. NY republican

    Mike – I listened to President Clinton once he was lieing UNDER OATH during a Congressonal hearing. I don't listen to people that lie UNDER OATH (under oath being the operative phrase, I do realize most politicians have "stretched the truth" to get their agenda passed).

    February 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. JP

    6 in 10 support the stimulus. What this really means is only four of the ten know what's in it. This so called stimulus isn't just pork its the whole pig. CNN next time you poll people on an issue ask them if they know anything about it first if they don't, don't count their vote.

    February 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Q

    And this is news why? He's already proved himself to be a hypocrite. Why won't MSM focus on him backtracking on all of his promises he made during the campaign? No, it's not because of the change in the economic climate. He said he would spend $150B to bailout the economy. We're looking at almost $800B now. Go figure...

    Only time will tell if these trillions of dollars will not bankrupt the US. Chances of recovery are slim in my opinion...

    February 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Jol3 from WI

    WAKE UP!!!


    This isn't some esoteric R vs D BS this is the traders and brokers THEMSELVES SAYING THIS. This isn't some political fantasy.

    Bush was bad OKKKK

    Obama is WORSE.

    Chris Dodd made a statement and Bank of America stock CRASHED
    ... MORON. What was he thinking?????

    We go from a bunch of idiots for 8 years to a bunch of FOOLS AND MORONS

    I am not the smartest person in the world but this is TRAGIC for our country and becoming an international JOKE.

    Get your collective heads out of your rear ends and realize its not about the petty letter after their names (R) or (D)

    Its becoming too late for such fighting.


    Ds and Rs

    Divided we fall is becoming a REALITY!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. NY republican

    @Mike – I listened to President Clinton once, he was lieing under oath during a Congressonal hearing. I don't listen to people that lie under oath (under oath being the operative phrase, I do realize most politicians have "stretched the truth" to get their agenda passed).

    February 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. MH

    the problem with Obama is his policies not his party. Are you for the stimulas package he hasn't read? Seven dems who voted against it aren't. What does that make them? Gimmie a break. Quit obssesing over Bush. His stimulas package sucked too.

    February 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Wally

    To read so many comments that assign ALL the blame on Bush and the Republicans for the mess our nation is in, you would get the impression that Democrats didn't gleefully by any homes with subprime mortgages, or take advantage of outlandish Wallstreet investment opportunities, or jump for joy while watching the profits in their investment portfolios go through the roof these last 8 years.

    But they did and all those who joyfully and greedily participated in the questionable econimic opportunities, regardless of party persuasion, are contributors to the current state of affairs...whether they are mature enough to realize it or not!

    February 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Iguana Victim

    So nice to see so many arm-chair economists and psychics coming out to lend their amateur, expert opinions.

    You'd think with so many Americans so keen on economic plans we wouldn't be in this mess. It's obviously the government's fault that so many would live beyond their means. Certainly the current president's fault that so many pensions and 401k's were lost in shady bankruptcy situations where the CEOs are still sitting pretty, even though their business tanked.

    What's sad is the morons so upset about all of this are really just mad that the free-for-all market isn't as vulnerable to pillaging as it once was. Too unpredictable now.

    Dinosaurs of industry beware, your corperate world has hit an ice age and it'll never be the same.

    February 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. sandy

    I think his numbers are good considering the financial state this country is in. I think American's should remember that no President in our history has ever come into office with the country in the mess it is in now. He has been in office one month and the republicans and some democrats think he should have worked miracles already. I didn't hear all this screaming in the 8 years Bush was destroying this country. This man does not need all of the TV analysts, the "I know more than he does" politicians and whomever else who thinks they know more than him to continue with this God awful tirade they are all on. This man needs this whole country behind him. And, if we don't rally behind him God help us all.

    February 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. No Hillary = No Obama

    Over time you will see the eroding of Obama's "approval" – it's inevitable when people make someone into more than they really are, put them on a pedestal and the person themselves think they are superior in every way. I call this the thin ice presidency.

    February 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. NY republican

    @ mike – I don't listen to people that lie under oath during their testimony at Congressonal hearings.

    February 20, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. lupercal

    really mike? you mean the dude who had less than 51% approval rating because of all the brouhaha in FL? He had 70% approval rating?

    February 20, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. YoYo

    A lesson learned. If you are a spoiled brat and things aren't going your way; you cross your hands in objection, complain about everything, and grab a few ignorant people to go along with your whinning act.

    Just stop it. It's been 1 month. Give the President of the United States of American a fighting chance. If after his 4 years you don't approve than vote and make a change.

    American right now we need more than anything to work together. And if Congress wants to act like spoiled brats, lets show them how they should conduct themselves.

    February 20, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Debby

    How can it drop he just started. If after the 4th month the economy hasn't moved in inch's like it has for all other past Presidents, then a poll should be taken. Obama is still in rock star status with the liberals and socialists in other countries vs. actually accomplishing something that works.

    February 20, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!






    February 20, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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