February 20th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
6 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. Richard

    Obama is a failure. You can't put this on Bush when the stock market is crashing every day because of obama policys.

    February 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Obama Victim

    the economy will suffer evr further fron his spendulus......he is sending more troops off to war......and soon we will be dealing with terrorists again.....this guy will be under 50 by fall...

    only 3 years, 11 months to go

    February 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Joan , Ontario

    Sometimes I think you guys don't deserve a President like Mr. Obama. He gets criticized every time he turns around and nothing seems good enough. Do you realize how many other countries would give their eye teeth to have him as their leader? It is not just his charisma and great smile that make him popular. He is so clever, can handle a lot of important issues at one time, does not get frazzled, stays calm and focussed, is a great family man and instills confidence. Support him, stand up for him and give him a chance. I think he will deliver.

    February 20, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Reality Check

    Look at what is happening in our country... when a new president takes office hasn't the trend been for our stocks to go up and the economy to rise.... none of this has happened yet... this is very scarey!!!!

    February 20, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. dj

    i agree with dp- neptune. polls really are meaningless now. as much as i love cnn, these polls are just becoming dead space that needs to be filled somehow of commercial. it's just fodder for people to argue.

    February 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. GM

    NONE OF US ARE GOING TO SAY WE DISAPPROVE OF OBAMA ONLY TO RISK BEING CALLED RACIST "COWARDS" BY THE A.G. !!!!
    As long as the public, and media allow Obama and company to use his race as a crutch or a shield from criticism, then he should sail through the next eight years, AND WILL LIKELY BE MADE IMPERIAL PRESIDENT FOR LIFE !!!!!

    February 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. Disappointed American

    All president's approval ratings drop immediately after they take office. This is to be expected. Especially with Obama because we all know his campaign was based on mostly lies.

    February 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Bob in Pa

    Wait till everyone finds out that he is putting his hand into the independent Auditor General’s office it will drop even further. He has no right to creating a board appointed by him that can directly influence or hinder investigations into government agencies or persons. All this tucked away neatly into the stimulus package at the last minute in the dead of the night. Our representatives voted on this package without even knowing it was there.

    Lookup "Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board" in your favorite search engine.

    Government Accountability currently at its best is very poor. With the RAT board, it will make it down right Obamanable.

    February 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. NW

    37% stupid. Okay, we can work with that.

    February 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. angrysob VA

    I rank him as pitiful. Looks like you can have your seat in the Senate back! Your highest ethical standards of any administration is a joke. Geither still hasn't presented any specifics on a bank rescue plan. You have no clue about creating jobs as shown in the stimulus plan. Go back to the senate and get about 4 more terms before attempting to run for prez again. And the Dow thinks you suck as well!

    February 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. LetFreedomRing

    People are finally beginning to see that President Obama is going to destroy every job and every business in America.

    February 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. An American

    Bush was not the ONLY person who got us in this "mess". Corrupt CEO's and dems. did their part – a big part. No excuses for Obama – he is the one who said he could fix things better and quicker than anyone else in his campaign. He really does not deserve any slack – he does not give it to anyone else.

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

    His approval ratings will be down to the level of the democrat controlled congress within a year.

    February 20, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Mitchell from MS

    Surprised? I am not! This man's numbers will continue to fall. He will make it impossible for another black man to ever be elected president!

    If you don't believe me look at the stock market again today....the sleeping sheep who voted for him now realize what they did and are horrified by this man.

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

    Not all the decline came among Republicans. Sorry.

    February 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. REPUBS IS THIS YOUR ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM

    @REALITYKING, AND WHAT DID HE INHERIT? THIS PRESIDENT WILL NEED AT LEAST A YEAR OR TWO TO ATTEMPT TO UNDO THE MESS THE FORMER PRESIDENT AND HIS ADMINISTRATION GOT US INTO. AND DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHAT THE REPUBLICANS THINK, NO. THESE SENATORS WHO VOTED AGAINST THE STIMULUS BILL ARE ALREADY STANDING WITH THEIR HANDS OUT FOR THEIR STATE'S MONEY, WHAT A BUNCH OF JERKS. THE DECLINE OF THE MARKET HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PRESIDENT
    OBAMA AND HIS ADMINISTRATION DECISIONS BUT WITH THE REALITY OF THE ECONOMY. ALL YOU NAY SAYERS AND DEMOCRAT HATERS, CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO YOUR REPUBLICAN ELECTED OFFICIALS OR PERHAPS YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THE MOST BRILLIANT ECONOMIST WHO SAY THIS IS A GOOD START TO RECOVERY AND JUST THIS MORNING IT WAS STATED ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA THAT HAD PAST PREZ BUSH WOULD OF DONE SOMETHING AS FAR AS 18 MONTHS AGO WE WOULD NOT BE IN THIS MESS.

    February 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Samantha

    Not all the decline came among Republicans. Sorry.
    No duplicate comment. It wasn't me who said that before. This is a first.

    February 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Greg in Colorado

    Who cares... moving on

    February 20, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Kevin

    Bush never had any poll put his approval rating above 63% until 9/11. The fact that most polls vary from 63-70% for Obama, in a tough economic time when usually approval ratings go down, is a fairly positive sign in my opinion.

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

    President Obama's rating hasn't dropped. That is bogus. Stop putting in to the test. You people are killing it.

    Stop it!!! Let President Obama handle the business of the American people and you haters, need to get a life. Were you all on President GW like this? NO, that is why we are in the state of the mess today.

    Stop it.

    February 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Matt

    The Messiah is above poll ratings

    February 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Jeffer65

    Polls are nothing. Who are these polltakers talking to anyway?

    February 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Typical White Person

    OK, so 53% think it will work (about the same percentage as voted for him). Of those only 19% actually expect to see evidence of it working this year and only another 16% expect to see evidence of it working next year.

    A total of only 35% of the people who voted for him actually expect to see some results from him before the mid-term election.

    With expectations that low how can his approval rating be falling?

    February 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. Brian---New Hampshire

    Hmmm Bush had approval well above 80% at the begining until far left dems controlled congress and messed up the economy and.....(to much to list)...... they had to place the blame somewhere and it was on Bush so his approval ratings dropped and to no suprise Obama is only 30% highger then Bush at the END of his term! Guess he isn't GOD afterall Sarah Palin would have and will do far better!

    February 20, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. hello

    CNN STOP PUTTING STUPID TICKERS FOR REPUBLICAN .
    DO YOU WANT OBAMA TO FAIL SO THAT YOU RICH MILLIONAIRE REPORTER AND ANCHOR KEEP YOUR TAX BREAK?

    February 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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