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. Gretel

    Mike,

    it's obvious that you have an "issue" with Obama, and a PETTY one at that.

    The reason that Bush had a 70% approval rating in his first two years was because efforts were made to cover up the dirty underhanded actions of his administration. It wasn't until 4-6 years later when the truth could not be hidden any longer, when the economy started tanking, and there was global dissatisfaction with the bush administration and with America as a whole, then it became increasingly difficult to cover up the nonsense that was going on all this time.

    Every little step or misstep of Obama is being spotlighted and the critics are given a platform (Ann coulter, limbaugh, romney mccain boehner, etc) If you look at the personal history of these individuals, you will see that they too have many "issues" of their own, which they try to unfairly project unto others including the new president.

    February 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Kurt in PA

    For those of you speculating on President Obama's "plunging" approval ratings: are you seriously that far removed from reality to hold these ridiculous views? Are you that far up the GOP, the rogues gallery of a party that put this burden on the country? When you can analyze the situation with the least bit of sanity, come back and we'll talk.

    February 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Larry

    What this poll is saying is Obama support has dropped over 25% since he was elected a month ago,at this rate he will be the most unpopular president ever by 2010--this administration has done more damage to our nation in one month than all other administration have ever done all combined.Maybe Obama will be able to put together the rest of his Cabinet sometime soon,these guys are losers,and they are taking us down with them.

    February 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. koolaider

    LOL
    CNN,
    CNN polling,
    Bush beaters.
    Democrats and Republicans,

    Journalism is long dead long live Larry King!...

    February 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    The new President has had just four weeks in office. Does CNN have nothing better than conduct popularity POLLS???

    February 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. Paul H

    Obamas Approval rating will always be somewhat respectable. It's the baggage (Pelosi, congress, and left agenda), the core group of liberal media and the politics that will P. O. most Americans!
    We will be sick and tired of big bad government by the time this is over with.
    And don't forget Global warming (Even when the icecaps refreeze to normal size they will cry). This alone will tire the average voter before they are done.

    February 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. lr

    his job right now is very hard. It is such a mess, that I do not know if we can get out of it. It will be very painful, scary, difficult journey. People thought that he will just do some magic and everything will be great, well, this works only in the movies. People want everything for nothing and right now.
    It is hard work, it is good luck, it is to tighten the belt, be more modest, it is good thinking and much more to get us out of this mess.
    He just cannot do it the way people think he can. Where is some realism? Some people just do not want to work hard....they just want it easy, and watch tv all day.
    We work hard, we struggle, we did not have it easy, we work as much as we can, but we do not complain. Now I am scared what will happen with us. I am scared...

    February 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Republicans are ankle biters

    Republicans are coming close to being treasonous.Openly wanting your country to fail and doing everything you can to see it happen smells like treason to me,and Rush Limbaugh put it out there and quickly retracted it as usual.Lets start with Limbaugh and a firing squad.

    February 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. jared

    some americans are so negative! This man has not been in office a month yet and there are polls already saying his approval rating is low. Give the man a chance. He did take over a job that the former president already messed up. Was he suppose to wave a magic wand and make everything better in his first 30 days, I don't think so because if that was possible why didn't bush Wave that wand!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. shoegazer

    D.Lo is absolutely correct in stating that more time has to be given to the President to see if all this is going to work toward an upswing for the country(and the world for that matter),those of you who thought he was just going to wave a magic wand and make everything better are delusional at best.

    February 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Straight Talk

    I'm pissed! I pay my taxes, I pay my mortgage, I do hundreds of hours of community service each year, I am not in debt and I have saved for my retirement. ...and I get nothing for doing the right thing ... while I see others who spend lavishly, refinance their homes multiple times and party with the cash, become mired deep in debt due to their short sightedness, never think of others or assist those in need.. and THEY GET REWARDED?!?!?

    THEY want a hand out from ME the tax PAYER! (for these individuals, I suggest not a hand out – a special "Digit out" is all they get from me.)

    I understand there are people who got sucked into shady deals with banks, getting into homes they should have never thought of owning. I feel sorry for those people but Shame on those banks! Let those banks Fail?? No! says the administration!! – THEY GET REWARDED.

    Where is the accountability? Washington needs to pick up the big hammer and play "Whack a Mole!"

    ... I think I am done ranting... I do feel a bit better.. but I'll get over it soon – more news from Washington to read...

    February 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. mms55

    dear 1/20/13 these no working bums your talking about didn't ask to be out of work.and i'll bet money you voted for mccain.remember his party got these people who are unemployed out of work and all the tax breaks in the world are not going to put them back to work.

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

    Since when is this country run on polls? I don't think CNN or any other news organization could go a month without taking one. Who cares? Let the man govern and give him a chance . tThe donothing party will never say anything good about him so why bother to even ask. I wonder who in the world they do poll? I have never knew anyone so maybe they just make up these numbers.

    February 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Ken in NC

    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 mess 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 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    A poll is only as good as the question it asks ... frankly, the only opinion that really matters is one's own opinion. When I don't make up my own mind based on my own values and circumstances ... I'm letting someone else think for me ... and I have to ask "why would I trust what you think?" ... especially if I think you're the dumbest kid in the classroom.

    February 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. geraldine

    His approval rating will never dip below 55%, regardless of what happens in this country. People that voted for him will forever support his presidency, and do so blindly if necessary. He will never be accountable for the promises he made, the health of this country or its citizens.

    His day-to-day running of the country is of some concern; his gilded infallibility is downright scary.

    February 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    @ no corporate politics, who said "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."

    Wrong. He promised to reach across the aisle, not come crawling to the GOP seeking to do whatever it takes to appease them. The fact is that he HAS REACHED and KEPT REACHING despite the GOP biting his hands like a pack of rabid dogs. It's a foregone conclusion that they will "show party unity" in opposing everything he and the DEms do and everyone knows it, even Obama, but he will keep trying because he promised. Nobody expected the GOP to convert to his way of thinking. Heck, they won't even admit that the facts and evidence disprove much of their ideology and that America told them on November 4, 2008 that we want to try it the Dems' way now.

    February 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. babs from Denver

    Poll after poll after poll. It doesn't matter to me but I guess pundits do love the results to either make or deny their points of view.

    February 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. the idiot

    With a worshipful, liberal press reporting everything he does in a positive light and never investigating the real story, or reporting any bit of innuendo that might damage him.(remember the fantasy shower story) how could this possibly be.

    February 20, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. 4 Hillary

    so let me get this straight. The republicans would rather have George Bush than Barack Obama? Please – what does that tell you.

    February 20, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Hammer

    One thing for sure CNN will not allow the cowards post on their site!

    February 20, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Jo

    I want a job taking polls. Since CNN lives and dies on these it must be the most secure job around.

    February 20, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. REALLY?!?!

    Obama has only been in office for less than a month, i'll give my counterparts that, but this only further proves the Republicans point. For a man who got elected by promising us that he would bring the nation together, he has done an excellent job of ailienating those of the opposing party. His first two major actions i might remind you were a) government funded abortions, and b) a stimulus bill that NO republicans voted for, and we are surprised his approval rating is falling?

    February 20, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Corey W

    Amen dp-netune!

    February 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Gary

    Hey CNN, Obama has done nothing. His stimulus bill will make us bankrupt. He doe snot deserve any rating. He is a poor guy without experience and using our money for nothing.

    February 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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