April 23rd, 2009
12:17 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama's numbers high, but will they last?

Obama is enjoying high approval ratings, but history suggests they may not last.
Obama is enjoying high approval ratings, but history suggests they may not last.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A average of the most recent national polls indicates that nearly two out of three Americans approve of the job Barack Obama's doing as president.

According to a CNN Poll of Polls compiled Thursday, 64 percent say they approve of how Obama's handling his duties as president. Twenty-eight percent disapprove.
The President's approval rating also stood at 64 percent in a CNN Poll of Polls compiled in January, just after inauguration.

"Most polls have shown Obama getting fairly high marks on most of the issues he has handled so far," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "One exception has been the way he has handled government assistance to failing banks and automakers. His numbers on the federal deficit are also low in comparison to his approval ratings on the economy and foreign policy."

So how does Obama compare to his predecessors in the White House around the first 100 days mark?

How's the president doing? CNN Radio breaks down the numbers

George W. Bush stood at 62 percent in a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll in April 2001, Bill Clinton was at 55 percent in a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll in April 1993, George H.W. Bush stood at 58 percent in a Gallup poll from April 1989, and Ronald Reagan was at 67 percent in a Gallup poll taken in April 1981.

"The hundred-day mark tends to fall during a period when Americans are still evaluating a new president. The danger period for most presidents comes later in their first year in office," Holland says. "Bill Clinton, for example, still had good marks after his first hundred days, but his approval rating had tanked by June of 1993. Ronald Reagan's approval rating stayed over 50 percent until November of his first year in office, but once it slipped below that mark, it stayed under 50 percent for two years. So Obama's current rating certainly does not indicate that he is out of the woods yet."

The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of three national surveys taken over the past week: Gallup Tracking, Pew, and AP/Gfk.


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soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. suzyku

    They will last because he continues to do the right things for this country and he continues to reach out to our enemies as well as our allies! This man, President Barack Obama is the best leader this country has seen in many years! He offers us hope, he offers us honesty and he speaks directly to us!

    April 23, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. David

    I'm glad his approval numbers are holding. The 28% who disapprove are the same people who were calling for impeachment before he even took office. That probably won't change.

    In terms of deficits, I don't think anybody likes them. Unfortunately, our economy nearly collapsed and some spending is needed at least in the short term to generate some demand. The spending (and the deficits that go with it) needs to be done now. I don't like cleaning out my cat's litter box either but I hold my nose and do what needs to be done.

    I wish we had spent a little more tax $$ on regulating the banking and financial industries over the last 15 years. Compared to the money I lost in my 401K, it would have been pretty cheap (money well spent).

    April 23, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. dev

    His numbers will last because he is a president with sense, this man will put America back in the position where other counties can respect and look up too again. All the republicans want to do is have us think that he is not doing a good job but I want to know which country have they been living in for the past 8yrs.

    April 23, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Mike in MN

    They won't last.
    As time passes and the economy fails to show any recovery and unepmloyment contiues to go up, support will drop.
    Obama is showing no real interest in attacking the deficits created as a result of his massive growth of government and spending. He touts several trillion of savings in his budget. But it is that same budget that the CBO projects will result in deficits of 9.3 trillion. His 100 million token savings in his cabanet agencies is a drop in the ocean in reducing the deficit.
    As time goes on more and more people will become educated on the spending deficits and demand a solution. Obama will not be willing to make serious spending reductions and will be unwilling to talk of making the necessary tax increase on the middle class to pay for his spending. Obama appears to be trying to stall talking about tax increases prior to running for his second term. This means he will offer no solutions to the deficits that will have any measued positive effect on the CBO deficit numbers.
    The deficits and failed economic recovery will bury Obama eventually, it is just a matter of time.

    April 23, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. C W

    I'm sure his popularity will ebb and flow. What matters is what he will accomplish and, given his intelligence, tenacity, character and work ethic, my guess is he'll lead us in accomplishing a lot of great things for our country.

    April 23, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Danny from DC

    They WILL. I am NOT a democrat but I can tell you this : we have really been missing for a lot of years on a newer generation guy who thinks not only progressively but acts too ( what I mean by Progressive is NOT pro choice or any of that CRAP but looking forward and highly solution oriented!)

    I doubt if he will get reelected though 'cause a large part of the americans are STILL ignorant and illiterate to understand the differences seen today in the approach!!!

    April 23, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. SM in MICHIGAN

    There you have it,opposition. His numbers are the same as they were on Inauguration Day. So much for the huge slip you're touting. He is dealing with complex issues, and no one but the rapid right could think he would fix everything in three months. It's a Herculean task with many problems, but he is doing a good job so far.

    April 23, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. George

    His numbers may decrease but will never be as low as Warlord Bush.
    Bush is the worst President in our history. So George W. is number 1 of the worst.

    April 23, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. gl, Pittsburgh

    Twenty-eight percent disapprove.

    and do we have to mention what party? If the Republican keep attacking the President day in and day out this his rating will remain high becasue people are not listening to the party of No and all their negative talk with no alternative plan.

    April 23, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. demwit

    Wow! CNN's polls reflect Keating Holland's opinioin perfectly!!

    We're keeping these for historical reference..., right!!??

    April 23, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Annette

    It's not about the Polls of polls. It's about what's he doing and the fresh visionary thinking he is begining to unveil. This President isn't about pomp and circumstance, President Obama is about substance and getting things done. And most of all he is listening to what the American people want and that matters.

    April 23, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Alex

    It never lasts. No matter what president is in power. And anyone who is still holding onto the belief that McCain would have done any better is fooling themselves.

    And it doesn't seem to matter what the president does, approval ratings will slip over time. Obama could solve the recession tomorrow, and still get a lower rating down the line. Remember how George Bush Sr was one of the most popular presidents ever after the first Gulf War ended? Didn't help him get re-elected, did it. I do think, however, that Obama stands a better-than-average chance of keeping his ratings higher for longer if he continues the hard work he's been doing so far and the GOP continues to slip into irrelevance with no clear leader or heir presumptive.

    April 23, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. carlo

    Of course they won't stay this high, but that isn't abnormal. Why are you guys trying to create controversy? People like him and think he's doing a great job. He will make mistakes, as he is human, and he will eventually fall out of some people's good graces, but that's expected to happen. You're just hoping that the entire country turns on him after some sort of scandal. I wish the 24-hour news cycle had never been invented, so you would have to make up news all the time.

    April 23, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. linda

    The economy numbers are bad, but will they last?

    CNN's ratings numbers are average, but will they last?

    The number of people interested in this particular story are next to nil, but will that last?

    Great work "Best Political Team"!!!

    April 23, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. jeff

    CNN can't wait until another election so they can roll out all the polls...

    April 23, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    They will stay high among the democrats, especially the left but independents are finding out he is just another politician and lawyer with his own agenda. The independents and republicans realize that he will have to raise alot of peoples taxes during his one term to pay for his socialist program. He cannot cut enough Defense spending to pay for all his programs, even if he eliminated the entire defense program.

    April 23, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. The Teester

    You go Barack–rock on, great job...

    April 23, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Palin Charlotte, NC

    Obama's numbers remain high....

    I would like to extend my personal sympathy to the GOP, (including Pat Buchanan, Lizard Man Newt, Army Dick, Joe Scarborough, Rush The Pill man, Insanity Hannity, O'Really, Fox) and all the media who keeps trying to kick sand in his face.

    April 23, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Yvonne, MD

    Of course his numbers are high. Your numbers would be high as well, if you had his leadership qualities, integrity, character, and genuine concern for the American people.

    Kudos Mr. President, you are doing a fine job.

    April 23, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. pike

    Want to have some fun with the bush right radical religious wrecks? Look up everything they said about Kennedy as president–even the head wound the Bible talks about and "raised from the dead". This is what all those limpballs should talk about.

    April 23, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Operation Crush Rush

    Yes ,they will last as long as he seeks the truth.

    April 23, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    President Obama's high approval ratings just makes the Arayan Nation base of the repub party see red!

    Soon, they will start frothing and foamin' at the mouth about birth certificates, unpaid taxes, Ayers, big government, socialism, blah, blah blah.

    So, it would appear that 64% of Americans are ok, with his birth certificate, his cabinets unpaid(which actually were paid when discovered) Ayers socialism and big government.

    Get a clue, clowns you are in the MINORITY get used to it!

    April 23, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Cowboy in West Texas

    I have never been polled – wonder how they ask the questions? Do I get to give responses in different categories. He is doing well in some and not so good in others. Right now he has taken action and I am still waiting to see the out come – ask me in August or September.

    April 23, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Zach K

    He did a lot for the first 100 days. He had his lows, and he had his highs.The 28% that are disapproving of him are probably the ones who still liked Bush's presidency.

    So far, so good Mr. President. Keep up the hard work. :D

    April 23, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Tom Paine

    It's not all about popularity – it's about leadership. So far, Obama has shown no willingness to make difficult decisions – and the decisions he's actually made have been terrible. Eventually, the popularity will tank.

    April 23, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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