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. darby

    The Bush era gave us an attack on our soil, a pointless war, a destroyed economy, a deficit Federal budget, etc. Basically, Bush drove the national car into a deep ditch. Now Obama gets to be the driver of the tow truck that is trying to pull the car out of the ditch. People should not get mad at the tow truck driver. He's doing the best he can. Trouble is the car is in a very deep ditch and seems stuck there for the moment.

    February 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Benjamin Vondrasek

    I love this countdown thing... 70! 60! 50! 40! 30! 20! I can't wait for November!!! Congress here we come! Viva Republicans!!!

    February 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Rob

    And as always, the kook libs gotta blame the Republicans. Nope, not this time! If anyone's taking a party first approach, it's the Dems with Reid and Pelosi, and His Holiness, the Threatener.

    To dp – neptune – Pretty ironic associating God with a party that wants to do everything in its power to eliminate God (unless of course it can get them votes).

    February 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Concerned citizen

    Who cares about polls?Polls vary from day to day!
    I see a new president that is running himself in circles trying to find a fix for the mess he inherited! I realize it is his job but It takes a lot of courage and down right concern for the people of this country to take on the task and schedule he has since day one in office.
    How about bush/cheney sitting back on there butts when they should be held accountable for the corrupt administration they ran for 8 years?They disgraced america world wide.How about that poll?

    February 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Just Shut Up!

    Hey D. Lo,

    "Obama can't snap his fingers and make everything flowers and rainbows."

    That's pretty much what he and his doped up followers promised.

    February 20, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    @ Mike

    NO. Bush's approval rating was approximately 55% when he took office in 2001.

    Google is the GOP's worst enemy.

    February 20, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Where's my help?? $13 in my paycheck isn't going to cut it.

    For Obama's approval to remain high, he going to have to do more for white collar professional workers than give them a lousy $13 per paycheck. What good is that going to do? My job is being transfered to Argentina in March 2010. I need a job to replace it making the same salary. I'm not interested in building bridges or paying streets or filling pot holes.

    When is Obama going to realize he needs to create white collar professional jobs to replace those that have been lost and those that will be lost during the remainder of 2009 and 2010, and probably 2011 and 2012 the way things are going.

    When I see Obama doing something for white collar professional workers instead of just blue collar workers, I will consider giving him my approval. Until then I predict his approval will drop lower than Bush's.

    February 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Sam

    I am not a fan of Obama. I agree with him on some issues and disagree on the others.

    But he is a politician and really doing great. I think he is only best politician we have right now. I know a lot of people love him .

    I will only judge him after 4 years as I do for others. I don't judge him right now. Let us what he does and see the outcome

    February 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. no corporate politics

    "dp" – "the polls mean nothing, we love and have faith in God working thru him"

    First of all Obama fans thought the polls were 100% accurate during his lead in the campaign. And the polls represent the People – so yeah – it is kinda important. And if it is a media poll it is probably cheated to make him look better – so this is not good news.

    Second (God working through him) – he is NOT the messiah , even though Farrakhan, Oprah and all his followers said so. That was a platform choice to get votes – it is over.

    February 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Kevin in Ohio

    This President deserves every bit as much respect and support as the left wing gave to President Bush.

    February 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. Sick and tired of the hypocrites

    Why do people automatically think that welfare recipients are lazy bums that do not work?

    When I was going to college, I was working for a little more than minimum wage. I did not have enough money to feed my family so I did get food stamps. That did not make me a lazy bum. It made me someone that was trying to better myself. I was working, going to school and taking care of my family.

    Our free market government has allowed corporations to outsource the America people's jobs because of capitalism and free market.

    People in manufacturing used to be able to retire from those companies, but these corporations failed the American people by moving to cheaper labor markets.

    Corporations lay off the people causing the unemployed to need assistance. Minimum wage is a joke. When discussing welfare, discuss the reason people are on welfare. It is not because of laziness; it is because the so called free market and greed has caused corporations to look closer at the bottom line and screw the American worker.

    At least now we have a president that understands the multiplier effect instead of the trickle down (in)effect.

    February 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    Polls mean everything in a democracy where the majority rules, so this is not a good trend for our new President.
    I still believe he was handed a bad hand and is playing it the best he can, only his methodolly will need to change and/or improve. Lets hope he can find a way to get the Congress to make the radical spending reductions his first budget will need to offset all of this spending???
    Though I did not support this President with my vote, he is always in my Prayers, and will always have my best wishes, for himself, his family, and our Nation.

    February 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. jeremy - tx

    I would imagine it's going to be hard to please the people (cough cough republicans cough cough) who expect him to undo several years of screw-ups in just a couple of days.

    February 20, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Kevin in Ohio

    D.Lo..... Buish didnt get us in this mess. Barney frank and the liberal congress did.

    February 20, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. angrysob VA

    Jim in Boca – If you're a white male construction worker then your not permited any stimulus cash. Now if you if you walk around with you pants down around your knees, smoke crack, slap yo ho around and are all around usless – then step right up and get your free stimulus cash!

    February 20, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Kathy

    This flop-eared idiot is ruining our economy. He has to stop moving so fast without thinking things thru. People are losing their life savings and their homes, as well as their businesses and all he can say is SPEND...SPEND. Get him out of office ASAP.

    February 20, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. aware

    The arrogant ,obfuscating Obama has accelerated his dishonest rhetoric! :(

    Obama needs to learn to tell the truth on his campaign stops. He also needs to stop spending mega bucks travelling around while he spews the fear-mongering sales pitch!

    The DOW closed at its lowest point in six years. Obama's tactics and programs are not encouraging anyone! :(

    February 20, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Dave, CA

    The only people who don't approve of Obama are those who thought they could walk over him. This is a good president and a good man. I'm please with him, and I think he's doing a fine job.

    February 20, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Dave, CA

    At least he's not the 7th Worst President Ever, huh GOP.

    February 20, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. SUZY

    What results do you expect from a GOP poll? These loosers are WISHING he fails....but guess what? NO WEAPONS FORMED AGAINST Barack shall prosper

    February 20, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. base

    cnn ,slow day today. well no one asked me . This is what you called news cnn? There are more important issues out there. you always want to see him fail,cnn. shame on cnn.

    February 20, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Ex-Republican Gal

    It took the Republicans 8 years to get us into this mess. We are not getting out anytime soon. In the meantime Obama has been doing a great job. I shudder to think where we would be if McCain-Palin were in the White House right now.

    February 20, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Glenda, PA

    Republicans think they're the only ones who have jobs and work hard. NEWS FLASH: Dems have jobs and work hard as well. Get over yourselves.

    Barack is doing a great job, and no we are not asking for handouts, but for a leader who will put this country back together after the disaster of the last 8 years.

    Barack gets and A in my book.

    February 20, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Daniel, Atlanta, GA, ex-republican

    Hey, as far as I am concerned, why not let ALL Republicans and Evangelical Christians move to Texas so that Mr. Bush can be their president for another 8 years? Also, we can have Texas become its own country so that the US can go to war with it! That will help our economy!

    February 20, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Dana, IN

    All of the naysayers never voted for Barack anyway. Give me a break, this is a stupid post, CNN.

    February 20, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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