September 18th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll of Polls: Obama approval holding steady

Barack Obama's approval as president is holding steady in the mid-50's, according to new CNN Poll of Polls.

Barack Obama's approval as president is holding steady in the mid-50's, according to new CNN Poll of Polls.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating is holding steady in the mid-50's, according to a new CNN Poll of Polls.

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of how Obama's handling his duties in the White House, according to the CNN Poll of Polls, which averaged the six national surveys taken since the president addressed a joint session of Congress on September 9. Thirty-nine percent, on average, disapprove.

The 55 percent approval rating is almost identical to the 54 percent mark that Obama had in August, according to an average of national surveys conducted last month. "The early part of the summer was a bad time for Obama, whose average approval dropped 7 points during that period. But since then, his average approval rating has stabilized in the mid 50s," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Protests at health care town halls held by members of Congress in their home states and districts received a lot of attention in the news media in August and early September. Many of those demonstrations were directed against the President and his proposals on health care reform.

"It looks like the town hall protests in August didn't drive his ratings down, but it also looks like his nationally televised speech didn't do much to push his ratings up," Holland says.

So how does Obama's 55 percent approval rating stack up to his predecessors in the September of their first year in office?

That mark puts him substantially ahead of Bill Clinton and right in the same ballpark as Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, says Holland. "Obama is well behind both Bushes, but bear in mind that George W. Bush's mid-September ratings for 2001 were affected by 9/11," he says. "It's impossible to say what his approval rating would have been if 9/11 had not occurred, but the best guess is that Bush would have probably been in the mid-to-low 50s."

This latest CNN "Poll of Polls" consists of the six surveys conducted since Obama's speech to Congress on September 9: Fox News (Sept. 15-16), Pew (September 10-15), Bloomberg (September 10-14), CNN/Opinion Research (Sept. 11-13), USA Today/Gallup (Sept. 11-13) and ABC/Washington Post (Sept. 10-12). The Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.


Filed under: CNN Poll of polls • President Obama
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Moderate Dem

    What is the population sample, is it 50/50 or what? Obama is not to smart, lying about this cap and trade bill that will increase out energy buills in the years to come. Why is CNN not covering that story, where the White House was sued and made to release the real numbers behind the research of the bill that was passed by Congress.

    September 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. victim of republican greed

    When will the Beckerheads realize that their hero, Bush, had 46 czars, while Obama has 34. Do some fact finding before you say stupid things.

    September 18, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Ed

    It is a tough job. Congratulations to him on working hard and providing leadership. I hope his policies work.

    September 18, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. victim of republican greed

    Don't forget that "W" was re-elected with only an approval rating in the lower 40's.

    September 18, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. James

    I kind of like when his polls were down, I like him as an underdog, he performs better which is driving those conservative nuts crazy. Go Bam!!!!

    September 18, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. foreign spectator

    Watching from a distance, as this is relevant to my study, I really hope that the powerfull age-old tactics of sowing fear and confusion will, for once, give way to reason and progress. The proposed changes are considerable and sometimes complicated. I can't fault people for not understanding said changes all of the time or having legitemate concerns. But I can and do fault politicians for rambling on national television confusing the heck out of concerned and descerning voters desperatly trying to find out what's going to happen to their country. why does it take a speech from the president to efectively counter even the most simple misconceptions. Democratic politicians: get your act together!!!

    September 18, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Joan

    Polls are only as accurate and truthful as the people administering and answering them. If they are phone polls, then the vast majority of people who communicate through cell phones and Blackberries cannot be contacted and so their views are not reflected. Other countries around the world give your President ratings in the 70's and 80's. Most of us would love to have your leader. Sometimes I think you guys don't appreciate and deserve him.

    September 18, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. victim of republican greed

    In the latest poll, the republican party is still dead.

    September 18, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Tom, NC

    Who do they talk to? No one in NC likes the 'Abamanation'.

    September 18, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Marge, Texas

    Obama's approval ratings are up because the majority wants health care reform. The majority came out in record numbers and voted for Obama and change. The people voted for change because of the road the Republicans lead us down. Their laissez-faire government lead to the unbridled greed and the stockmarket crash, double digit job losses, global warming, war, and a "bully mentality" that is very ugly to witness. The bully may have taken America's lunch money, but America has decided to stand up for their rights, one person alone may not be able to stop the bully, but with a little help from our friends we can finally take back the school yard.

    Government is suppose to do the greatest good for the greatest number. The people of the United States of America vote. Corporations don't vote for our Congressmen. It can't be good that there is $375 million dollars for health care lobby being given out to our Congressmen. Follow the money. Make sure your congressman is not in bed with the lobbyists. The vote was only the first step to take back America. Now you have to take an active part in making your government work. Yes we can.

    September 18, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Louis

    I wait until 2010 August,
    Magic 60 Baby!!!
    Owwwwwww!! After that, we'll see Obama's ratings shoot out of the roof top!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    September 18, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Janet

    You folks do realize that, polls directed at LIKELY VOTERS (i.e. Rassmussen polls), have Obama's approval ratings at far, far less?

    The Likely Voter polls are historically far more accurate. Those polls have him at far below the mid-fifties.

    "Likely voter" polls also show that approval for health care reform, cap and trade, and the economy are far below 50%.

    Don't be so quick to celebrate.

    September 18, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. victim of republican greed

    The Rasmussen poll only polls those that they deem as reliable voters, and often exclude younger or minorities. As I recall, Rasmussen had McCain winning over Obama 51/48.

    September 18, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. enough

    America is becoming a well respected country again... Not a country of aggression, but one that cares about it's people... That's change we can believe in! Go President Obama! We support you 100%.

    September 18, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. ccc

    it will go back up again and again

    September 18, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. PB

    Considering what President Obama inherited and his strong plan to make positive changes, I think he's doing a great job.

    September 18, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. bella

    Of course OBAMA is "holdin steady"!! In fact, he's doing a FANTASTIC JOB! I cannot believe my eyes this article is on this page?? Could it be TGIF??????? Thanks, CNN, for giving us a POSITIVE READ, for a change!

    September 18, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Bob

    Your polls are amazing. I live in L.A. and it is so much fun to watch the Leftish spin of news on CNN and the Right wing spin of Fox News. Yesterday Fox had a poll on Obama caving in on the missle defenses in Poland, and Fox had it at around 90% saying it was wrong, yet on CNN a similar poll had it at arond 60% saying it was fine. All I want to know is what to beleive?. It seems it be mostly irrelevant rhetoric for me. I make my own opinion and I alwasy vote.

    September 18, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Dave

    Yeah, it is just his policies that people dislike! One day, the US will wake up!

    September 18, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Yay!

    Thank you for your service President Obama.

    The town hall shouters are nothing but whining, selfish losers. But idiots can be dangerous. Obama is showing calm, courage and intelligence in the face of their lunacy.

    Let's all follow his wise example and GROW UP.

    September 18, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Steve

    The nut cases out there who are shouting loudy are getting heard by the media but those of us who believe in this President sit and watch these people and laugh. It is like watching a bad reality tv show...it is entertaining but insulting to ones intelligence at the same time. I don't take these people with any seriousness. I certainly respect those who have a different view point in politics and on issues but those who are out there with crazies, marching with Nazi symbols and hateful pictures do nothing for their cause. If anything it makes the rest of us look RIGHT in our decision to choose such a smart man for the office of President. I know I did what was right because these are the same supporters of George W Bush. That alone defends and supports my vote for Obama. ROCK ON OBAMA!

    September 18, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. GA Independent

    Gosh, you think that the wing nuts will notice this? Nope.

    September 18, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Kim

    Considering all the negativity thrown across the country, it's amazing he is that high. Just goes to prove that good always overcomes evil in the end.

    September 18, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Michael

    The President's ratings would be stronger if he and his administration could prioritize the economy as priority number 1, 2 and 3. All the false deadlines for health and other legislation detracts from getting the economy on solid footing. And it was the Bailout, not the pork-filled Stimulus Bill that has triggered the stock market rally. The world wants to see this President succeed, but at best he's been a "C" overall and, on prioritization, scores well below that.

    September 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Dave

    Obama and reality:

    We will pay as we go, but our debt has skyrocketed.
    We will review bills, but they are passed before being read.
    We will pull out of Iraq, but we are still there.
    We will close Gitmo, but where to put them?
    The stimulus is required, but unemployment has risen.
    We will not raise taxes, yeah right!!!!
    Everything is Bush's fault, but I will take no responsibility for my policies.

    etc., etc., etc.

    September 18, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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