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. MarcyH

    How can any sane person expect our President to clean up the mess in 3 weeks, that Bush created in 8 years of bad decisions and reckless spending? It is at the very least a step in the right direction.Lets have this conversation at the end of this term.

    February 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    @ 1/20/13

    How you can call anyone lazy when you're too lazy to pull out a calendar and get that date right...well, it's beyond me, but I suppose that kind of hypocrisy can be expected from a GOPer.

    February 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Mad Mike

    Republicans don't approve of someone trying to get us out of this mess, but they approved of someone who got us into this mess. And you wonder why the economy is lousy. The out of control spending by the last Administration, lack of check & balances from both the Dems and Republicans in Congress over the past 8 years. No problem giving over $700 billion to bail out banks so they could shore up their stocks enough to let their big investors recover losses and pay themselves before anyone caught on. Nothing for homeowners or the middle class, no real lending from the banks with the taxpayer's money. Now a big whine over the stimulus plan. Winning a popularity contest in the polls and trying to get the economy moving don't necessarily go together. But sitting back and pointing the finger while more people line up at the unemployment office or soup kitchen gets us no where. Bottom line: You gave the last guy 8 years to screw it up, so give this guy more than a month to fix it.

    February 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. St Louie

    OMG, I really don't care that the RNC is disappointed. What did they do besides nothing? or everything to get us into this mess! They jacked up our entire economy, yet they can't find it within themselves to actually do something or vote for something that may fix the mess they made. Boy isn't is nice to be able to point fingers yet never take the blame for anything! Well I approve! At least the party I voted for is willing to do something to try and fix this mess. If you do nothing, nothing will happen!

    February 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Diana NJ

    Obama's rate dropping, dropping with who? I thought I was happy Nov. 4th after the election returns came in, Jan. 21 when he started to get important things done I was brought to tears of not believing we finally had a Smart Guy in the White House that cared about the people. Day by day my respect for him grows... AND I WAS NOT POLLED...

    February 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Lilianne, Idaho

    Wow. It's been an entire MONTH!!! lol.

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

    @Mike:

    Bush's approval ratings may have been 70% in his first year because he made no major decisions in his first year and then 9/11 hit and he became the Republican god that no one could criticize (look at the Dixie Chicks). President Obama has signed some controversial legislations into law in 3 weeks and he still has a high approval rating.

    Don't be mad. It's looking pretty good for him and the Democrats. Maybe the GOP will become relevant in the next century.

    February 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Ollie, Huntsville, Al.

    We did not get in this mess over night, you all gave Bush eight years of spend and spend and more spending ,greed. He is doing great considering all the messes on his plate.

    February 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. 1/20/13

    To cheryl brooks from cali

    It is important because WE MAKE THE MONEY.....THE LIBS SPEND IT ON THERE SOCIAL ENTITLEMENTS. With out republicans there would be no growth, work, or money. NEWS FLASH FOR YOU, YOU ARE NOT BEING PRODUCTIVE SITTING ON THE COUCH AND COLLECTING A CHECK FROM TH EGOVERNMENT

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

    Let's see, he inherited the worst U.S. mess in modern history and a global mess. He has been President for two months. He has passed the biggest Stim Bill ever, expanded children's health care as well as a few other prominant Bills/Exec Orders. And now, some note his ratings are fluctuating. Depending on ecnomic conditions, the pollster, the questions, you can prove anything. Even taking a poll at this early date means nothing. Does the media have so little to talk about that this is what they gravitate to, or is the real story about what is happening in this country just too much work for the lazy media.

    February 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Dekonti

    The man into office on Jan 20, CNN takes a poll in early Feb (2 weeks) after taking over and is now making a comparison 2 weeks later. CNN...you're beyond dumb. You should rather take daily polls..(:

    It took Obama at least the first two weeks to find his bedroom in the white house.

    February 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Shari, NY

    @ Mike "Didnt bush have a 70% rating in the first year or two of his presidency?, obama is already at 60%.. not good.."
    _________________
    Dearest Mike: I will give your Bush rating quote the benefit of the doubt but you should specify which term you are referring to. It cannot possibly be the second. Don't compare with him with Obama whose job is much tougher. He's got to clean up after the elephant (whew!) in addition to all other tasks.

    February 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Obama 2012

    President Obama, you have more support for 2012. I already know I will be knocking on some doors for your campaign.

    February 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "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."

    So basically:

    A few Dems who were either blue dogs or hoping Obama would maybe throw a little more weight around are a little disappointed; and

    The GOP's pandering to its base is working.

    Too bad for the GOP that doesn't represent winning votes to their way of thinking, just that they've been able to get their already bitter and angry base even more bitter and angry.

    February 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. beevee

    You can't except to get support of the sore losers – the GOP. They are jealous that the president is trying to accomplish many things in just a few days which the republican president could not in eight years (with six years of GOP house support). They are being pigheaded and led by idiots like Rush Limbaugh want the president to fail in turning things around in the country. With or without the GOP support I am confident he will be able to bring the country back on track.

    February 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Linda K.

    This is the normal mode of operating for Republicans. Does anyone else remember Rush Limbaugh and his late-night TV show back in 1993. On the night of Clinton's inauguration, he started with "Day One" of "American Held Hostage" and continued through the Clinton years. That's what they do. Attack as soon as a Democrat gets into office with hopes that their attacks will bear fruit for them in the next election.

    Let's show them that it won't work this time.

    February 20, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Ken in NC

    While I am a Democrat that is not in total agreement with everything President Obama has done, I must admit that he is making a effort to guide us up out of this mees we are in. None of us know if this is going to work because we have never been in the situation we are in now so it has to be more of a trial and error. My problem is that it appears that Republicans are set to work against the President at every turn and if he fails or some of his ideas fail, I will be more than likely to blame part of the failure on the Republicans fighting against his every move. They have made no concrete ideas of how to solve our problems other than tax cuts but my thoughts are that tax cuts will not work for employers to hire people when they have no orders for products, hence no tax cut would be taken. Not assisting the banks in getting their bad debts straight will only lead to their failure and that would eventually lead to the failure of our nation.

    So it is my opinion that while they are against ALL the President is trying to do, they have offered no solutions. I have no problems with them having a difference of ideas with the President but now is not the time to hold up efforts to make changes. This is the time for all of us to work together to fix our problem. Some Republicans have go so far as to say they will not accept Stimulus Funds in their state. This may not hurt them but it will hurt citizens and business of their state. Taking a position like this and going public with such a statement is being really childish. The efforts of the Obama Administration are for all Americans and all states.

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. thefletch

    OK, listen up folks .... he's a peice of crap from chicago and he ain't going to change anything but where your money is and that isn't going to be in your pocket.

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. R in Maine

    So you asked the RNC what they think of Obama. Big surprise. Why don't you ask me about them? I think that are traitors and thieves who should have their hands and heads removed. You are stupid to manufacture "news" this way. Journalist is just another term for developmentally challenged.

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Todd

    Just like by bank account balance, Mr Obama's ratings are going to plummet!! It's amazing how this is going to directly correlate with his approval across the country...

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. SlimSista

    BOY...WE YOU HATERS PLEASE STOP WAITING FOR OBAMA TO FAIL...HE CAN'T EVEN GO TO THE BATHROOM WITHOUT THAT BEING A PROBLEM....GIVE THE MAN A BREAK...HE'S DONE MORE IN HIS FIRST MONTH THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT IN HISTORY...OH I FORGOT...HE'S BLACK....SO HE REALLY HAS TO BE ON HIS P&Q'S...OR ELSE HE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB....

    PLEASE REMEMBER: HE INHERITED THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS FROM THE REPUBS...WHO ARE NOW CRYING WOLF!!!! SUCH DOUBLE STANDARDS!!!

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. LB

    Obama is finding out that it is a lot easier to campaign and crticize from afar then it is to govern, although with all of the travel he is doing he is acting like he is still campaigning .

    He bans lobbyists then gives exceptions.He will end the war in 16 months but now is vague. He wants to revise NAFTA but backs off while he is in Canada. He arbitrarily says that he will close Guantanemo dictating arbirary deadlines but he has no idea what he will do with sworn enemies of our country who want to hurt us. He is the chief nay sayer on the economy.

    Jimmy Carter the second. It will be a long 4 years.

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. what happened during Bush yrs

    Suprise.. suprise.. repubs disapprove. Conservative republicans listen to Limbaugh and not to the American citizens that voted these repubs in.

    February 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Chris

    He still has my approval.............

    February 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    THE STIMULOUS WASN'T DESIGNED FOR FAILURE. REPUBLICANS REPRESENT 8 YEARS OF FAILURE SO THEY CAN'T RECOGNIZE ANYTHING DIFFERENT. THE REPUBLICAN/BUSH ADMINISTRATION FAILURES CREATED THIS MESS BUT WE WILL NOT ALLOW THEM TO CONTINUE DESTROYING THE COUNTRY. SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAUSE HE SUPPORTS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    February 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12