February 20th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
5 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. Daryl McIntosh

    Come on America!! Can the President even get his feet wet in the office! Did we criticize any other President this soon. Why is President Obama held to different standards? He has been working from day one! Get real America, let us work with him and make this land great again.

    February 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Lou from CT

    So – we are less than 100 days into the Obama Administration, and we already have discontent with Mr. Obama. Is this surprising? It's not to me since most of the discontent comes from the other side of the aisle. Let's be patient and give things a chance to shake out. Anyone who expected a quick fix to this economic mess is fooling themselves.

    February 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Super D

    67%???

    That seems very high. I would expected a lower number. For goodness sakes all he's done is trip all over himself the past month.

    February 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Chuck Anziulewicz

    So the RNC thinks President Obama is "disappointing?" Compared to WHOM, exactly? John McCain and Sarah Palin?

    That Barack Obama's poll numbers are down should come as no surprise, given the continued economic meltdown. The stock market continues to fall even as I write this, and I have no doubt things are going to get worse before they get better.

    But you can be damned sure I'm still glad I voted for Obama rather than the Republican alternative.

    February 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Had It

    Stop with the polls – most Americans are happy with the President. We don't care what the republicans think or want any longer. They had a chance to join in and give some ideas and they just dug their feet in and demanded that they ALL vote NO - even to the things they wanted.

    Grand Obstructionist Party at Work.

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. nigel sampson

    When is President Obama going to say anything positive about the economy? There have been indicators in the market that show improvement, and he continues to say things are going to get worse. Why isnt he mentioning things like the increase in existing home sales? The improvement in CPI? Everybody knows the hole we are in, we don't need somebody continuing to tell us there are going to be more misery, we are already in the storm. We know that. We need leadership. We need positivism, we need inspiration and a leader to say we are making improvements, no matter how small they are. At least this will lift peoples spirits, help improve peoples outlook.

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. southerncousin

    Won't be long before we start hearing the calls to change the constitution to drop term limits ala Hugo Chavez. Chavez nationalized the banks too and drove any opposition press out of business (Fairness Doctine)?

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. j

    He can't snap his fingers and have all the problems magically disappear and he's at least 1000% better than the last President. At least he is offering solutions.

    What new solutions have the Republicans offered? NOT ONE!

    I much prefer a President and party that's attempting to find solutions to the problems the GOP got us into rather then politicians that have no solutions to offer and won't cooperate with the politicians that do.

    I don't expect the solutions to be perfect but trying something is better than doing nothing and just watch the country fall apart.

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. no corporate politics

    "Since nearly all of the decline came among Republicans, this doesn't indicate that the honeymoon is already over,"

    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.

    Hey it was a wild promise but if Obama made it, we must hold him to it.

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. demwit

    The state run liberal media is not doing their job! Hang them all!!

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. BURNS

    ALL TALK AND NO SUBSTINANCE–NOTHING DIFFERENT FROM
    BEFORE–I KNOW THE POSITION OF PRES. IS A THANKLESS
    JOB-BUT PROMISES WITH OUT A PLAN THAT IS NOT WITHOUT
    BACKING OF THE CONGRESS, WHO HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDA
    OF DOMINACE WILL NOT WORK----IMPEACH REID AND THE
    PELOSI FOOL. LET DEMOCRACY WORK-----LET OUR VOTES
    COUNT ,WITH THOSE WHO REALLY HAVE THE BEST INTERESTS
    OF OF US ALL.-----DON'T SELL US OUT FOR THOSE WHO
    WILL TAKE ALL OF OUR LIBERTIES.

    NAM VET NH

    February 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. WHO CARES

    THIS COMMENT IS IN RALTION TO THE RNC GIVING PRESIDENT OBAMA BASICALLY A FAILING GRADE, WHO CARES, THE LAST ADMINISTRATION GETS A FAILING GRADE FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS AND THIS SITUATIONS WE ARE IN STILL FALLS ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE REPUBLICANS AND BUSH. SO I FEEL PRESIDENT GETS A PASS FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS.

    February 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. carlo

    You waited until you got to the end to tell me that it was one of your polls. That explains it. If there's no story, just make one up. Works for Fox.

    February 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. yonimal

    i think Obama is doing an excellent job in this really difficult situation. the only thing that i think he did poorly was underestimating how much the republican party put party first and country last.

    February 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Benn

    So sets in disenchantment. I still say my appreciation for President Obama (zero, zilch, nadda) will be out-paced by the dissappointment of his blind followers

    February 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. marie larke

    He needs to get off Air Force 1 for a while, work in the office and start sounding a bit more upbeat about the future, he has been all about gloom and doom so far. The sky is not falling, fix the mortgage mess, come up with incentives for people to start buying homes again and the rest of the economy will begin to recover.

    February 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. RealityKing

    Other more scientific polls put it below 60%. A much larger drop than CNN wants to admit..

    February 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Just Me

    Every week CNN has another poll. It's amazing, my opinion has never been solicited for one of these polls.
    President Obama has only been in office for 1 month. Give him time to get his foot in the door. Okay. Naturally the Republicans are going to complain, they lost the election. They haven't finished pouting and throwing their temper tantrums yet. They still don't get it, they lost.!

    February 20, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Ian

    And as the economy continues to falter because he tied up too much of the sitmulus package in long term projects, his popularity will spiral downward.

    What does it say to the average, middle-class voter when their "big" tax rebate amounts to a few dollars a week while welfare recipients and people who failed to pay their mortgages are given handouts with our tax dollars?

    Let's also not forget that he's escalating our troop presence in Afghanistan and has still not announced any troop withdrawal from Iraq beyond those that were already slated to come home before he took office.

    February 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Mari

    You know, I have a lot of sympathy for President Obama. He has INHERITED (thanks Bush!) the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, and people are so impatient and mean its despicable!

    Obama has been president for ONE MONTH, and the-haters are doing everything they can to make sure he fails! What's new? The GOP-haters continue the SAME VILE POLITICS that COST them the elections. They never learn!

    GOOD NEWS IS that 67% of our Nation APPROVES of President Obama. WE, the People, KNOW that the Bush Disaster will not be solved overnight!

    IT IS SO VERY ........HYPOCRITICAL..... of the GOP who got into this mess to obstruct, complain, condemn, criticize, etc., etc.

    *** WARNING TO THE GOP****** Continue to obstruct, continue to be controlled by the haters of AM Radio & "Faux News" and your WILL continue to LOSE! AMERICA IS SICK & TIRED OF YOUR VILE, NEGATIVE POLITICS........ THIS IS THE TIME TO RISE UP AND BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE................. BUT NO......... THE GOP =

    THE 'GRAND' OBSTRUCTIONIST PARTY!

    February 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. demwit

    DOW -124.81-1.67%
    7,341.14

    Apparently 67% of American's are related to me..

    February 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Jonathan Espiritu

    It's easy to complain about something that was going wrong for 8 years by the last administration and blame the new guy for cleaning up the mess that was already there. It's also rediculos that I hear more complaints from one side and no results. You ever heard of the saying you have to spend money to make it.

    February 20, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Michael Rock

    He is an intelligent guy so I had hopes that he would see that bailout of those that are fiscally irresponsible and growing government will not fix the economy.

    The people they are polling are likely not paying attention to the facts. They are clueless about the details of the stimulus and support it only because they blindly support Obama and the Democrats or were irresponsible themselves. (i.e. buying a home they could not afford in the first place)

    Anyone with any knowledge of economics and history knows that this is not stimulus package that will work.

    February 20, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. yuri

    Indeed! The polls may go up and down, but it appears that Obama is trying his level best to boost the economy. Healthcare, terrorism, and stock market are the 3 main ogres attempting to gobble up his ratings.Once the theory behind his stimulus starts taking roots and grows into a huge tree, bearing fruits, the poll may try to look at him with, perhaps, less cynicism.

    But then, Coulters and Limbaughs are a whole new ball game. Our observation of the Behar-Coulter interview during the Larry King program last night, is that Ann appears to be wagin' wars against the liberals, come what may. The contents of her speech sounded less settling, especially, when she quoted 20 million listenership for the comedian Limbaugh's radio show. We could not help wondering about his ex-oxycontin-dependancy status, which may or may not influence his cognitive functioning.

    February 20, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Kevin in Ohio

    This president deserves every bit of respect and support as the leftwing gave to President Bush.

    February 20, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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