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. Lisa from AZ

    77% of americans support a public option CHOICE in new poll. I think americans are going to end the nonsense in the senate during the next election cycle. vote dem 2010!

    August 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    You always see political views shown as a simple left-right thing, but it's really more complicated than that–the left-right thing doesn't have any way of showing how much government people like. These days, the Left seems to favour huge government that does everything for everyone. The Right seems to favour huge government to carry on its holy wars all over the planet.

    But both sides have in common an endorsement of huge government and more and more are coming to realise that, regardless of their views on social issues, it's not worth beating people over the head with a huge government to impose those views on others.

    There's no room on the Left-Right chart for respecting each other's views. There's no room for minding your own business and expecting other people to mind theirs. And that's why confidence in the Dems is dropping but confidence in the GOP isn't rising–people are moving away from both Big Government parties.

    And that's a Really Good thing.

    August 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. jp,michigan

    The President just doesn't get it, the American people are not happy with his governing. He has shown to be in dictatorship mode more so lately. Mr. President, the American people are your employer not the democratic party. The will of the people , is the way you should be governing!

    August 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. 2010 - The People Speak

    His numbers are dropping because he has not been keeping his campaign promises and he is the tail of the dog while Pelosi and Reid are the head. This is why Pelosi didn't want Hillary.

    August 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Tyran

    Obama is willing to lose the Presidency, to fight for healthcare reform. The American people are letting him down by falling for the same old Republican scare tactics, that pit them against their own intrest.

    August 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Blake in South Texas

    Why so serious?

    August 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Brenda L

    Six months on the job and he needs a vacation already? I had to wait a year before I could take one! How much will this trip cost the taxpayers?

    August 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. bob

    The only reason the President and the Democrats poll numbers are down is because we have the constant stream of ads telling all kinds of lies that the main stream media is failing to correct and do there job by calling out these lies. Instead we have Fox News of course and CNN having a 3 to 1 people from the right guest appearance telling all these lies without CNN correcting them right away. This let's them get away with planting these falsehoods in peoples minds. Shame on you CNN. You where the most trusted name in news at one time.

    August 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Todd

    How about this “CHANGE” my liberal comrades? Uncontrollable deficits, spiking unemployment, porkulus, socialist take over of the auto and banking industries, unelected, unaccountable government czars, passing of a bill with out the majority of either house, passing of the same bill with out the support of a majority of registered voters, government transparency, bipartisanship. Why don't you keep your phkn “CHANGE”!!

    August 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Jeff Brown

    Barack Obama is the greatest president of my lifetime and I am in my 50's. The GOP is nothing more than a blight on our political system!

    August 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Sinclair Larsen

    How can any thinking American approve of this president. DC is in total disarray; nobody knows what the heck is going on for now or for the future. Seems more political spin than ever from DC with the biggest government takeover of freedoms ever imagined for our country now looming just ahead. The great American we have known and loved is disappearing before our eyes with Obama and the democrats in control. The Constitution has been trashed before our eyes with more promised.

    August 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Obama Victim

    this guy won't be around long.......................C ya Barry

    August 21, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. RAG

    Republicans think Americans are stupid (and true, some of stupid enough to be Republicans...). Right or wrong doesn't matter. The just want power back. They will use any lie, distortion or illogic to stirr the uneducated and easily lead (i.e. "grass roots conservatives") into a lynch mob. They have learned Gobbels lessons well.

    August 21, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Rush Goebbels

    The President will comeback stronger than ever,while Rush tries to hide from the State of Florida and the IRS in L.A.Hahaha.The Swiss banks gave up the names of all the tax cheats.Guess whos on the list.

    August 21, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. truthsayer

    Like the President says everyday is a new poll....its a joke

    August 21, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Libertarian

    No gains for GOP?? I think this is unprecedented? Usually when support drops for one side...the other gains. This should be VERY concerning to the GOP. If they aren't gaining support what does this say for their future?

    People are dropping support for the Dems but see the alternative as worse?

    August 21, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. IQ test for all voters

    Its difficult to digest the enormous stupidity of the right! And if the left concedes to their fear mongering and lies they're just the same!

    Even this week Ridge exposed the fact the cheney/bush administration readily used any means it could to create fear in the minds of americans for their political gain. To take away OUR constitutional rights, to launch an illegal war, to do NOTHING after katrina, and now to deny us a better form of Healthcare!

    The Right is CORRUPT! DONT YOU GET IT!!!!!!!!! They simply DONT CARE about typical americans! They ONLY care about their profits and their corporate business partners.i.e. lobbyists and special interests groups!

    ALL the facts are right there, IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE!! It just takes an IQ over 80 to figure them out!

    August 21, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. truthsayer

    The instant gratification seeking crowd wants the biggest recession since the great depression in 8 months.

    What a short sided and selfish country we are.

    August 21, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. Mike TX

    Keep blamin' the GOP folks. Bottom line is that many people voted only with their hearts, and now that emotion has died down and objectivity is now the name of the game, people aren't as impressed with Obama. The President needs to step back. take a breath, and plot a slower, more methodical course on healthcare.

    August 21, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Dave

    We are getting the government we deserve. The two-party system is a scam. BO is a mere puppet that does the bidding of the international bankers and MI complex. He serves the CFR, Trilaterals and Bilderbergs.

    August 21, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Christ is the only messiah

    Obama is a fake and a joke. People are finally seeing him for what he is.

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

    CNN NBC WSJ FOX does a poll everyday and its geared towards making the POTUS look bad. Shame on the media!!!

    August 21, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. Scott

    Obama had capital and is using it for health care now, hence the lower numbers. If reform, with a public option, passes, the numbers will go back up. Once people see there are no death panels, they will still be able to see their doctors and they will not be taxed, Obama will jump back up to the mid to upper 50's.

    August 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. N.G.

    I was very hoeful when he first took office. Now, i just hope he fails and fails hard.

    August 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. nancy

    Considering that all the cable channels are showing are the crazy protesters of health reform and little or no coverage of americans who know we must in fact do something to fix our broken health wonder your polls show he is down. where is the coverage of all the americans who have no coverage or have coverage that costs more than their mortage or has such high copays, deductibles and out of pocket limits that one major illness will result in bankruptcy or loss of another home. The coverage of this issue has been one sided and shows little of the millions of americans that need help and decent insurance.

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