August 21st, 2009
10:20 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Confidence in Obama drops; No gains for GOP


A new poll suggests Americans are losing confidence in President Obama. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll suggests that Americans' faith in President Barack Obama to make the right decisions for the country is dropping.

Forty-nine percent of people questioned in a ABC/Washington Post survey released Friday say they have a great deal or good amount of confidence in the president's leadership, down 11 points from April. According to the poll, half of all Americans have little or no confidence in Obama's ability to make the right decisions, up ten points from April.

But the survey indicates that a dip in confidence in the president doesn't mean a rise in confidence in Republicans in Congress. Just 20 percent of people questioned say they have a great deal or good amount of faith in Congressional Republicans to make the right decisions, unchanged from April.

"This summer has been the season of discontent with all politicians," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The ABC/Washington Post poll indicates that Americans don't have confidence in the president or in Congress, and aren't confident about Democrats or Republicans."

According to the poll, 57 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing as president, down two points from July. Four in ten disapprove, up three points from the 37 percent who disapproved of the president's performance in last month's survey by ABC/Washington Post.

Three other national polls released earlier this week, NBC News, Pew Research Center and the Gallup daily tracking poll, all separately indicated a 51 percent approval rating for Obama.

"Why does the ABC/Washington Post poll show a higher approval rating than other recent polls? One clue may be that all those polls report virtually identical numbers who disapprove of Obama - roughly 40 percent - and that's the same disapproval rating that the ABC/Post poll has," notes Holland. "The difference is the number of respondents who say they don't have an opinion of Obama, which is lower in the ABC/Post survey. That suggests that there may be a large number of Americans who like Obama but are reluctant to say so. The ABC/Washington Post poll may be overstating Obama's support, but it's also possible that their interviewers are doing a better job of getting people who mildly support Obama to say so."

The release of these surveys comes as protests over health care reform continue at town halls being held by members of Congress, who are on summer recess and back in their home districts and states.

According to the ABC/Washington Post poll, half of all Americans disapprove of how the president is handling health care, up six points from July, with 46 approving of how Obama's dealing with the issue, down three points from last month. The survey suggests that much of the drop in support comes from seniors and independents.

But the NBC News poll from earlier in the week suggests no change in Americans' views on Obama's health care performance. Forty-one percent questioned in that survey support how Obama's handling the issue of health care reform, with 47 percent opposed. The 41 percent who support the president is unchanged from an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from mid-July, before Congress began its summer recess and intense media coverage of protests at health care town halls held by lawmakers. The 47 percent who oppose Obama's health care performance is up a single point from last month. A Gallup poll released last week also suggested that the president's approval on health care is unchanged from last month.

"One key finding from the ABC/Washington Post poll is the intensity of support or opposition to the Democrats' health care plans," says Holland. "Forty percent say they strongly oppose those proposals. The number who strongly support them is much smaller - only 27 percent."

The ABC/Washington Post poll was completed just as the debate over the public option for health care reform erupted in the media. According to the survey, 52 percent say they support the creation of a government insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, with 46 percent opposed. The 52 percent support is down ten points from late June, while opposition jumped 13 points. The poll finds much of the drop in support coming from seniors and Independents.

The ABC/Washington Post poll was conducted August 13-17, with 1,001 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    So basically, the GOPers are not helping themselves, they're just willing to take everyone else down with them.

    August 21, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Thoughts on Pawlenty

    I think it's because he's in our face everyday and the mystery is gone. There really is some truth behind people not wanting government up in their everyday lives. With every speech he does and all the coverage the press gives him (for their own ratings) for the little insignificant things, the more folks get tired of seeing him.

    The best way for a president to keep their ratings high is to step back out of public eye, work behind the scenes, and let their administrative staff do the talking. Out of sight is out of mind is a good thing in this case.

    I support you, Mr.President. I support Health care reform and even public option, but these numbers reflect overexposure.

    August 21, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Mississippi Mike

    The GOP doesn't have to win over a majority, it just has to win over more people than Obama does. So if Obama keeps sliding and the GOP stays the same, the GOP wins.

    August 21, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. phoenix mattress

    look, i'm a conservative. i do not like what obama does on a daily basis, but i have to say this about the polling that goes on to judge him from week to week: can somebody please come up with a better gage of public opinion than to try to process how americans feel about an issue or a person and then translate that into percentages? it doesn't seem accurate, never has, and what do these polls do for those who are hearing about them? it doesn't make me feel anything different towards obama. cnn's polls are even more accurate than these national polls that try to measure public opinion about politics. if obama is doing well, we just KNOW it, we don't need to be polled about it.

    August 21, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Obama-mania

    It's a good thing he's going on vacation. We all could use a break.

    I do support health care reform and public option plan, however.

    August 21, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. Expat American

    When was the last poll? Yesterday? This is getting ridiculous. Imagine the poll numbers of a President McCain at this point. The GOP and its supporters keep throwing stones from their glass houses built on the 'Values' of kidnapping and torturing children. Fear not. The educated world abroad won't stop hating Republican Americans anytime soon; no matter how many polls are conducted per day.

    August 21, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. smokey

    We don't belive in these polls, because no one ever polled me ! I stand with my Pesident, and like he continually says, change is never easy.. I commend Pres Obama for having the courage to stand up and make a difference with regard to addressing the toughest issues we have ever faced in this country...Its about time we had a Pres who is willing to go the extra mile and try to bring out country into the 21st century...We have not had a WH for the last 8yrs, so cut Pres Obama some slack..Look at the mess he was left by the Bush Adm...Now that was a an example of a so called Pres and WH who did absolutly nothing, except start wars.Don't forget the 911 happenned on their watch, and they were suppose to keep us safe? Get real..Thankd God we have Pres Obama in office !!!!!

    August 21, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. dwayne

    Get the health care bill signed and the approval rating will go up big tiem. Public Option

    August 21, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. felicia

    It's ok President Obama will be alright, to all you naysayers that wants to see President Obama fail it won't happen. He will prevail

    August 21, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Steve, Columbia SC

    Our faith, confidence, trust, and overall satisfaction is dropping not just for our president, but for all levels and representatives in government.

    Our government is bloated, inefficient, out-of-touch, and has mortgaged the future of many generations with its unsatiable appetite for spending beyond our means.

    I believe it is time to clean the house. Prepare for the cleaning to begin in 2010.

    August 21, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Scott, Tucson

    Obama is clearly out of his league, he should have stayed in Chicago and played community organizer instead of try to play President.

    August 21, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. George

    It will drop when ithe ignorant believe the lies told about health care.
    I would't like someone that was gonna kill my gram either. Hey GOP
    your last administration lived on lies, so I guess this comes natural to you.

    August 21, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. freddy

    Too much Obama in the news, every day it is the same old message. Put something noteworthy in his presentations. They are about as dry as you can get. No wonder no one is paying attention. If he doesn;t change, his poll numbers will drop even further. It is clearly time for his vacation

    August 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Jay T.

    Regardless of what his poll numbers indicate, Obama does benefit from the fact Republicans suck.

    August 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. CHAREE

    I think this is nonsense, the distractors are always looking the smallest things to critique. I feel that the president is entitled to his vacation. No one made ads every summer when Bush went on vacation to Maine yet the 2 wars were still on and the economy was still bad. Bill also vacationed in the Vineyard every year.

    These are politics of hate!

    August 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. James M. Holmes

    Grow a backbone Obama! You are right about all this... quick trying to work with those that only want to see you fail !!!!

    August 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Keith in Austin

    As more time passes and Americans wake up to Barry's true radical colors, his approval rating will continue to plummet like a rock!

    August 21, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Texas

    i support my president.

    August 21, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Pepou

    This is WHY we don't need the GOP!! for God's sake let these people rot in their caves and let's move on REFORM. Meaningful reform that people want!! And why we elected him!

    August 21, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Anonymous

    And he's still sooo fine! Lol. Seriously though, these polls are a crock.

    August 21, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. deb0155

    Geez! Are we really that shocked?!

    August 21, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Greg

    "But the survey indicates that a dip in confidence in the president doesn't mean a rise in confidence in Republicans in Congress. Just 20 percent of people questioned say they have a great deal or good amount of faith in Congressional Republicans to make the right decisions, unchanged from April."

    CNN, you need to learn that Republicans in Congress have little to do with conservative principles. There's no contradiction here.

    August 21, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. LacrosseMom

    Interesting thing about polls is how they differ depending on who is doing the polling. This morning's Pew findings shows that Obama still has a 51% approval rating, considering that he got ......52.9% in the elections that's not bad!

    Also, I doubt the polls findings since there is a huge group of people who have only cell phones whom the pollsters can not reach; and who, common sense tells me, are the Obama supporters, the 20-somethings who voted for him.

    Those of us with landlines are likely older, a bit more conservative. We must remember that Obama INHERITED the Bush Disaster, and that the economy is NOT FAST FOOD....... its going to take time to rebound!

    To the GOP I say: STOP THE LIES ....... STOP THE HATE!

    August 21, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. ELW

    The fact that the GOP is not gaining only indicates that liberals who feel that he is not doing enough or staying strong enough on the issues to satisfy them. I suspect there are some Dem lawmakers who are in trouble for 2010. Not from the near dead GOP, but from less moderate Dems who will challenge them in primaries.

    August 21, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Ali vs Frazier

    The champ is giving the right, a little rope a dope, just before he pounds him and drops him for the knockout.

    August 21, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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