September 4th, 2009
08:00 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Republicans make gains, but trail Democrats

 Despite the drop in President Barack Obama's approval ratings, Republican policies are still not as popular as Democratic policies, according to a new national poll.
Despite the drop in President Barack Obama's approval ratings, Republican policies are still not as popular as Democratic policies, according to a new national poll.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite the drop in President Barack Obama's approval ratings, Republican policies are still not as popular as Democratic policies, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates that the GOP has gained some ground in polls in recent months, but Democrats still hold the advantage on key issues like the economy and health care.

Fifty-two percent of people questioned say the president's policies will move the country in the right direction. An equal percentage feel the same way about the polices of the Democrats in Congress. What do Americans think of Republican policies? Forty-three percent say the GOP's policies will move the country in the right direction. Nearly half of those polled said congressional Republicans would move the country in the wrong direction.

But the percentage of people who think Obama will move the country in the right direction has dropped 11 points since May, while congressional Democrats have seen a 5 point dip. Congressional Republicans have seen a 4 point rise over the same period.

Polls in recent weeks have shown Obama's approval rating in the mid-to-low 50s - a significant drop from early summer, when most polls had his rating at 60 percent or higher.

"Barack Obama's drop in the polls has not made the Republican Party more popular than the Democrats," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. Still, he adds, "the GOP may be in a more competitive position - a comparison with poll results from May suggests that the gap between the parties has been closing."

The survey suggests that, by 13 points, Americans think the Democrats rather than the Republicans would do a better job handling the economy and Medicare. The Democrats have a 9 point advantage on health care and an 8 point edge on Afghanistan. The two parties are tied on the question of how they'd handle taxes and the federal budget deficit. The GOP holds a clear advantage on just one issue - terrorism.

According to the poll, six in 10 say that the GOP has not done enough to cooperate with Obama. A bare majority says the president has done enough to cooperate with Republicans, a significant drop the April result for the same question.

"Two-thirds of all Americans are angry at the way the government in Washington is working, and the Democrats get the brunt of that anger," adds Holland. "But the amount of anger has not quite reached the level that polls found in 1994, when voters turned the Democrats out of power in Congress and elected a GOP majority for the first time since the 1950s."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted August 28-31, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey, and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for the breakdowns by party.

Full results (pdf)


Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Rightsaid

    This is one independent who is plenty happy with the work of our president. Not everything is working out the way I would most like, but can you imagine yourself able to get anything done in Washington? Half the GOP are nonsensically calling Obama a tyrant while also finding him lazy, lacking leadership, etc. They are just nuts, but their constant whining makes it more difficult to get anything done. Then on top of that, you have a bunch of people who are more worried about getting re-elected than they are about doing the right thing.

    Now, get the public option passed! People don't deserve to die b/c they lack healthcare!

    September 4, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. OrlandoGuy

    Even with the economy still struggling and the healthcare reform controversy the President and DEMS are ahead. Can you imagine next year when the stimulus is in full swing, the economy is turning around and healthcare is enacted....the GOP will be in dire straits.

    That is why they are fighting so hard to defeat healthcare and also to discredit the stimulus plan.

    September 4, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Beth

    It's really good to know that Obama and the Democrats still lead in the polls with regard to major issues and the direction of the country. It's not unusual for a President's approval ratings to drop after he has been in office for awhile. There is an initial honeymoon period. Soon after when the elected President begins to initiate his policies and has to deal with all of the nonsense that goes on in Washington, it makes sense that poll numbers would inevitably drop in most cases. At the end of the day, it looks like Obama and the Democrats are doing well.

    September 4, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. LIP

    If Charles Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee continues to do things like not pay back taxes on $75,000 annual income on a rental property in the Dominican Republic, along with investigations on three other ethics violations, the Republicans will make some major gains. The Democrats can't afford to continue to turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior from Rangel and other Democrats.

    September 4, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Ron

    The republicans' "Jerry Springer" type nonsense will come back to haunt them in a big way next year. Americans love to watch the antics of the Springer Show, but wouldn't vote for the host to run the country. Republicans are going to have a tough time trying to answer the mail for the stunts they have been pulling since Pres. Obama was elected. All of the crazy accusations they have made – and the ones they failed to shut down – will be brought up in campaign ads all across the country. Next year will be a tough year for republicans when Americans buckle down and get serious to vote on who will lead our country! As a veteran and former republican, I am ashamed of the republican "leadership" and won't be casting my vote for any of them.

    September 4, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. katiec

    Just cannot understand how people can continue to support a party who is out to destroy our president, consequently us and our country. A party who sold us down the river long ago in favor of big business, greed and power.
    And their latest fiasco about boycotting the presidents speech to students. Have NEVER witnessed such a hypocritical, dishonorable, irresponsible, dispicable bunch of politicians.
    How anyone with intelligence and sincerity can support them is beyond me.

    September 4, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. ron

    What have republicans done to help in the last 6 months. All I have seen them do is try to undo the election. I hope the next republican that gets elected dies before taking office and there is no way he is talking to my kid.

    September 4, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. jfs Memhis, Tn

    This will all change around in the next few weeks as a positive reading for the Dems. Especially when Health Care Reform/Govt Option and the Economy turns around.

    September 4, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Scott, Tucson

    If the Dem's keeps holding into Obama's policies, they're going to get burned but good in 2010 and Obama will follow them out the door in 2012.

    September 4, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Ken

    Look, the dropping poll results for the [D]s was only a matter of time. The people who were dumb enough to be convinvced to vote for Bush once, then twice!, and then - after the proven abject [R] failure that was - to vote for McCain/Palin....these people did not all-of-a-sudden gain in IQ after the 2008 election. If approx. 50% of America's voting citizens were dumb enough to make those three consecutive *obvious* mistakes, they remain plenty dumb enough to now fall for the current version of [R] lies and fearmongering. That a significant percentage of this country's population is susceptible to the rightwing noise machine is a sad sign of the low cognitive abilities of those citizens and is an embarrassment to the rest of us enlightened citizens.

    September 4, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    And to think all of this "stuff" is perpetuated by the media, including CNN.

    The media is responsible for so much of the garbage going around the country, such as the latest about the President broadcasting into schools.

    I cannot BELIEVE that any educator would not allow this into the classroom! What next???????

    Some people who object to the president for whatever reason can put their kids into private schools! Keep them ignorant and pregnant!

    September 4, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Justin

    Once an actual healthcare bill is on the table, we'll see where the electorate really stands.

    The GOP has confused a good number of people with outright lies about proposals for reform. So the GOP's 'gain' is built on sand. Once we have an actual bill, those lies will be exposed and many people's fears will disappear.

    At that point, the GOP will find itself on the wrong side of history. Americans understand the need for large-scale reform NOW. The GOP is trying to scuttle it, the Dems are trying to get it done.

    It would be great if they'd work together, but that's clearly impossible. In this battle to the death, it will be the GOP which loses. They say they recognize the need for reform and yet they still do ... nothing.

    Only diehard Dem-haters are going to support that.

    September 4, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Chad

    Uh oh CNN, your boy Obama is starting to lose credibility with the American people fast. At least you are putting the best spin on it that you possibly can.

    September 4, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Farrell in Houston

    Republicans only plan is to bring our President down because they really don't care about the countries issues at hand, it's all about bringing our President down. Oh, how I wish the Republicans weren't such cowards when GWB was president as they all voted 100% with him while he took us to ruins. Now we have a President who is cleaning up behind their mess and the Republicans have the nerve to complain, COWARDS.

    September 4, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Ken from missouri

    OK folks just think what would the republicans do if they were in charge would things be better or worse I'll tell you things would be worse their wouldn't be a middle class tax cut,our auto industries would have shed 3 million jobs and the unenployed wouldn't have health insurance and it would be a society of chaos people think their hurting now just think with no help at all.

    September 4, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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