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. umu ule

    The Repubs are the worst economic terorist immaginable in the face of the earth. They killed the world economy that was robust a liittle over eight years ago. Obama is doing every thing possible to clean the mess and they are still fighting to distroy everything he is building on.

    February 20, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Concerned in MA

    Guess I'm in the 33%.

    Curious to know what the ratio of dems to repubs was in their polling... I live in one of the most liberal states in the country, and I can tell you that not many people in MA approve of him.

    February 20, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Gary

    Obama's polls are still high because it is still early and the press is still treating him with kid gloves – – if he keeps appointing lobbiests and people who don't pay their taxes, if he lets the democrats ram pork spending bills through congress, if he mortgages our childrens future to avoid the painful recession today then his polls will not only drop but he'll be known as one of the worst presidents in history. He has real potential for greatness that we saw in the election but unfortunately his first month has been a disaster. For the country's sake I hope that he gets his act together.

    February 20, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Tony

    Just heard on the news today our government officials are considering a new tax based on the number of miles I drive to work every day. Brilliant idea in the midst of the worst recession most of us have ever seen.

    February 20, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. E.C.Coleman


    February 20, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Chuck

    This man is doing the very best he can with the horrific situation that was handed to him. At three weeks these polls do nothing but create speculation that is harmful to any new policies coming to fruition. Let the man do his job. What happened to the first 100 days. The GOP can't even give him that much. They are so set on seeing this administration fail that I'm afraid we will have to hear this rhetoric and rancor for the next four years. I hope by then just hearing the word republican will be as effective as ipecac.

    February 20, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. T.E from OK

    The Republicans are trying to make sure they do help to get his numbers down. They cannot stand it that they are not in power and that over 3/4th of us are not paying for the top 1%'s tax cuts that were robbing generations anyway even without the housing and lost jobs. This was just the icing on the cake and they want people to try and forget and not remember they have caused most of this problem. Our state can sure use this money because roads, bridges, health care cots and everything else has been urnderfunded for the past eight years.

    February 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. lucy

    He is not a Jesus. If people expect from this man, who've rolled his sleeves from day 1 to clean up the biggest mess in the history of this country, that within a month all the problems will be fixed, then they need reality check. He will not be able to deliver everything we want him to even within his first term and there will be dissapointments, so get over. THIS PRESIDENT IS DOING SOMETHING THAT NO PRESIDENT HAVE DONE BEFORE.....HE IS HONEST WITH US AND WILL TELL US HOW IT IS...OUR PRESIDENT IS ONE OF US.

    February 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |

    CNN – I noticed when you were interviewing the mayors, I heard from all the demacrats, when you started talking to a republican mayor---- CNN'S COMMENTATER TALKED OVER THE REPUBLICAN MAYOR AND DIDN'T HEAR HIS COMMENTS REAL FAIR AND BALANCED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Lisa B

    When you are elected to fix the problems left to him by Bush, there are going to be decisions made that can never please everyone. The country is in devastation and the President is making the tough choices. Approval ratings aside, he needs all of Americans support.

    February 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. cheryl brooks from cali

    Gee wizzz.... Why is it so important that the rebubs aprove The President.... they don't matter and when the next election comes they'll see how much they matter. I'm so tired of this mess, why would anyone want us to fail....

    February 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Emily

    We expect that the RNC will react negatively to the speed at which things are being moved, with or without their approval.
    One wonders WHEN they will wake up to the realities of life for average American's in this country. The spotlight is being moved to issues that are real for most of the country and away from the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Do they not understand that if it were not for the middle class and the struggles we face, their wealth is an empty shell?
    It is the RNC which is disappointing.

    February 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Neiki

    Come on, you really didn't expect the RNC admit their utter failure(s) now did you? Honestly, when can you remember the Republicans giving President Obama a fair shake, let alone a compliment. The American people realize that the RNC's goal was to set President Obama for a fall, totally expecting him to miserably fail. Guess they just didn't get the lastest memo... "President Obama is actually doing just what he said he would do for the American people."

    February 20, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Jim in Boca Raton Fl

    Obama, Frank, and Pelosi-I would like a refund on my taxes due to
    incompetence and your pointing us all in the direction of bankruptcy. Does that mean I am eligible for a bit of "Stimulus Money"?

    February 20, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Frost/Tennessee

    We all know Wall street is crooked... I think it's time for CNN or someone to do a report to see if they are run by republicans.. keeping it dropping..

    There is something fishy going on.. time to go shark fishing..

    February 20, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Raymond

    CNN reports,

    "Forty-nine percent said they think the passage of the economic stimulus plan was a major victory for President Obama."

    REALLY?? Getting your party, which controls both the House and Senate, to vote down party-line is a "major victory"?

    It's like a hockey player taking a penalty shot to an open net. HE SHOOTS .. HE SCORES... THE DEMOCRATS GO WILD....

    February 20, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Mike

    Didnt bush have a 70% rating in the first year or two of his presidency?, obama is already at 60%.. not good..
    Also please do us all a favor and listen to president clinton.. if you have nothing good to say about the market....PLEASE tell your team not to get on tv and open there mouth.

    February 20, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Melissa

    Why does CNN do weekly polls? You didn't do this with any of the other Presidents so why now? Leave him alone and let him work. In six months, then do one. No one is qualified to make a decision how good someone is doing after only one month at a job because every single person on the planet always bumbles a bit in their first month on any job.

    February 20, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Bryan

    Approval rating will continue to tank. Nothing new but a different voice for the same stupidity.

    February 20, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. 1/20/13

    It is just the start.......Once he turns off the money spickett for th elazy bums that dont work they will turn on him.

    February 20, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Rich Kime

    I find it hard to believe the national poll that 6 in 10 support the stimulus package. I spoke with over 50 companies in the midwest in January and only one person said that the package would work. Everyone wants a true stimulus bill but the opinion was that the one that passed was just full of special interest spending.

    February 20, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Mike in New York

    No president will make everyone happy. If anyone thought he'd stride into the White House, wave his hands, and solve all of the world's problems, they were delusional.

    February 20, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Jim in Bisbee

    Obama has my vote.

    Strange how Republicans always wanted to talk about former President Reagan, but now say they don't want to talk about former President Bush because he's from "the past".

    Oh, irony.

    February 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    If John McCain was president, I don't think CNN will be giving so much attention to polls. There wouldn't be a Presidential first 100 days report card. The media is so biased. Report news and stop trying to make it.

    February 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Shari, NY

    I know the streets of Manhattan very well and have come to the conclusion that N.Y.C., in particular, has been on a spiraling economic downturn for years. A galore of office space is available (some same spots have been vacant for more than TWO YEARS). A ONE MONTH probation with subsequent analysis for the head of a country who has a tough balancing act is a bit unfair. I wish him well despite lack of cooperation from some.

    February 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12