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. Dennis

    I don't trust any politician. They are as a general rule, self centered, egotistical and liars.

    August 21, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. cramit

    49 % ..........not bad for a used car saiesman. snake oil know

    August 21, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. James Ralph Dickason

    Obama is the worst thing to happen to our country with the ego to go with it. It's about the size of Texas. His "handpicked" staff is a bunch of people who don't know what they are doing. They seem to be on the "learning" curve at our expense.–4 years from now we will be up to our eyeballs in catastrophic debt–

    August 21, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. john

    When you have set someone up to be the next Messiah, he is bound to disappoint.

    August 21, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Beka

    Americans do not think that Healthcare is going to pass and that was a major reason Barack Obama won the once Healthcare passes he will be fine which is more than I can say for the Regressive Party....They will continue to slide as long as they continue to take the side of Big Money over the Average American.

    August 21, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. john

    When you set someone up to be the next Messiah, he is bound to disappoint.

    August 21, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Bluebonnet

    I don't trust "that one" to do anything.

    August 21, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Duck Fallas

    Does this mean that Sarah Palin is now president?

    August 21, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. eolufemi

    He's taken a high risk-high gain approach to governing the nation. No president has been as visibly active as this one reshaping the national agenda. He was bound to split opinions moving so quickly. Psychologically, a large portion of any population are fearful of dramatic changes even if those changes are necessary. It's like being a passenger when the driver suddenly swerves, some people are going to panic whether swerving was necessary to avoid an accident or not. But interestingly enough people forget almost immediately that they ever needlessly panicked. I suspect once pulling out of the recession becomes more obvious to people in their everyday lives that people will forget they jumped off the band wagon.

    August 21, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. The black Spider

    Yes because he is trying to work with the devil instead of sticking to his guns and the policies he campaign on and people believed in.
    Public Option is just one exemple. He is betraying his base and now he will learn the lesson.
    How can you try to appease somebody (GOP) that hate you and want your failure? That is call naivete.
    America does not want a naive president they want a strong president that will not give up his believes to appease a small group of ignorants.

    August 21, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Expat American

    Here is another way to read this latest 'hourly' poll. While many are growing uneasy and impatient with the pace of the much needed economic recovery, their faith and belief that the GOP will add anything substantial to the discussion remains the same...that is pretty much non-existent. Those fooled by the obstruction and deflection tactics of the GOP are willingly ignorant and somehow supporters of Obama are sheep? Incredible and a bit laughable.

    Many Americans are proud of their ignorance; best revealed and described as many of those caught on film in the Palin Mob videos. They look down on other cultures and nationalities while all the while, it is they who are obese, isolated, close-minded due to their limited global perspective and sadly foolish.

    What, they don’t serve food on the airplane anymore? Then let me pack a bucket of hot cheese nachos in my carryon; because I’m hungry.

    August 21, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Bingo

    I think the CNN Poll Director Keating Holland has hit on exactly the key point. American are dissatisfied with our political leaders on both sides. We dislike and distrust big government and, at this time, both parties are perceived as big government, big tax, big spend standard politicians. President Obama was elected on a mandate for Change - change to the big government antipathy to the needs and desires of mainstream Americans. Instead, he has been changed by Washington, DC, method of operation to another big government politician that feels he knows what is best for the citizens regardless of what the citizens may want. His outlook has changed from "Yes, We Can" to "Yes, I Can." Not the way to lead and not the way to win approval from the voters for whom you work.

    August 21, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Simp

    CNN, Keating please take your inaccurate polling machine and go hide in a cave. Next you will be saying the GOP has a 75% favorable rating and that would really be laughable. Why do you people keep sending out these polls? They are so inaccurate . I have a suggestion, since you poller's think we should put any stock in these dumb polls why don't you poll (HONESTLY) people who really believe these stupid things and let's see the results of that. Nobody cares about this crap, stop doing it!!!

    August 21, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. jon c. sprowl

    we must have a third party that cares about we have 2 parties that just want to get reelected.

    August 21, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. madison, WI

    WE still love you man!

    August 21, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Bob Moore

    You mentioned the lack of trust of congressional Republicans, but failed to tell us what your respondents had to say about Congressional Democats. How much do you want to bet that Americans feel the same about them, and why did you fail to provide that information?

    August 21, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |

    we all americans have the attention span of two yrs old.we have forgotten the dire economic situation that the lame duck president bush left the country before he left the office,banks were by one,no credid,401 ks were dissapearing in front of our .now we want presideny obama to fix things,so fast.slow down everone.he his more engaging than any president in the past 10 yrs.lets just wait.he is doing a good one ever asked my opinion.

    August 21, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. the real Mike in MN

    He's between a rock and a hard place. He's never had and never will have the support of the right and now he's loosing support on the left because they see him as not living up to promises and caving to the right and big business. The left is sick of hearing about bipartisanship when the right has made it clear that they have no desire to work with the president.

    August 21, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. John L.

    Of course there were no gains for the GOP. When will Washington get the point? We are sick of both parties!! They both sell us out so they can pump their egos and line their pockets.

    August 21, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. obummer, 1 and done

    I suspect it will continue to drop as his programs continue to fail miserably, he continues to spend and tax, he continues to offer up bad solutions, continues to blame everyone else for the problems, and continues his arrogance.

    I don't his ideas and believe they are wrong for the country, I think he is totally unqualified, I think his tactics are to destroy anyone who disagrees with him, and he is all talk and it is catching up with him. Unemployment continues to rise, spending continues to rise, the wall between parties has never been greater, and everything he touches goes bad. Somewhere along the line he has to be president and take ownership of the job, not just continue to make things worse and blame the prior administration. I think he has realized it is much easier to blame than to do and it is showing dramatically.

    People are beginning to see he was a bad choice and his numbers will continue to drop since he cannot continue to please people with just words.

    August 21, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Jake

    All this shows is how patient the American people have been. This is no young President Kennedy – he does not have the experience to lead our country.

    August 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Jeff

    Hmm.. lets see. A recession, dropping standard of living for most Americans, and discontent with the political status quo.... sounds like the makings fo a revolution. Polls should start asking if they feel the president is being too progressive, just right, or not progressive enough, same with Congress, Republicans and Democrats in general. You will see that the majority of Americans think that Wqashintgon is no longer being progressive enough. If the Dems can' tfight big business and the conseravtive mobs, then we'll throw them out too.....

    August 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. sandy

    I don't listen to polls. I have all the confidence in the world with this man. I only wish others in Washington would spend more time assisting him then tearing him down. If these politicians ran a business the way they run Washington, god help us all. I am with our President.

    August 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. andrea

    I support you Mr. President , I would like to see you get a little bit tuffer.
    Do not worry about the GOP they are hurting themselfes plenty.
    Have a nice vacation, you deserve it.

    August 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. larke marie

    No surprise here, he obviously lacks any meaningful executive experience, his lack of experience is manifesting itself loud and clear. I can't believe I voted for him.

    August 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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