January 26th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on Obama approval

 According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 49 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing in the White House, while 50 percent disapproving of how he's handling his duties.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 49 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing in the White House, while 50 percent disapproving of how he's handling his duties.

Washington (CNN) – One day before President Barack Obama delivers his first State of the Union address, a new national poll indicates that Americans are divided on job he's doing in office.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 49 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing in the White House, with 50 percent disapproving of how he's handling his duties.

Full results (pdf)

Fifty-five percent of people questioned say the don't think Obama has paid enough attention to the most important problems, with 45 percent saying he has the right priorities. And six in ten feel the president has paid more attention to financial institutions rather than the problems faced by middle class Americans, with 28 percent disagreeing.

But 63 percent say Obama's sincere and six in ten feel he's a strong leader. Fifty-nine percent of people questioned say the president is honest and trustworthy, 57 percent feel he inspires confidence, and 56 percent say Obama's in touch with Americans.

"Most Americans have a positive view of Barack Obama's personal characteristics, but they don't feel the same way about his positions on the issues or his track record in office," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Independents think Obama is a strong leader and they see him as honest, but only 42 percent of them say they agree with Obama on the issues."

The survey also indicates that Americans are divided on whether Obama can unite the country, if he's doing a good job keeping promises he made during the 2008 presidential campaign, and whether he has accomplished what they expected he would during his first year in office.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 22-24, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN Polls • President Obama
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    When the President and First Lady finally get over the "Gee, its fun being President", and actually start working I think the country will finally start to heal. However, by the looks of it, that is not going to happen. Where does Obama plan on getting the money for all the programs he wants....taxes, print more money, spend more? He's been in office a year, you can no longer blame President Bush for Obama's short comings.

    January 26, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. lifelong democrat

    I'm one democrat who DISAPPROVE of Obama, I cannot give this man a thumbs up when he's hell-bent in destroying my country I love so dearly. There comes a point in time a man must make a choice; party or country? I choose my country. I'm not blind what my party is doing, what Obama is doing. President Obama is floundering, he had a notion being a President all he have to do is deliver speeches using his telepromper, he thought all he had to do is to make us "feel good" with his verbosity. To lead a nation requires experience, leadership; which Obama doesn't have. He make us feel good with his words, at the same time stabbing all of us in the back with tax, spend, borrow and borrowing more.

    I don't know how we're going to pay this over $12 Trillion which they want to increase to $14 Trillion (another debt ceiling) by adding another $1.9 Trillion this year. Obama is an ideologue, he's a dreamer; we know darn well we dream of winning the lottery jackpot but reality tells us we have a better odds being hit by a lightning than winning. Obama is the same way. His new stomping speech is "SPENDING FREEZE," I don't believe him; this man cannot manage a lemonade stand without bankcrupting it. I strongly DISAPPROVE Obama.

    January 26, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. File under "Sarcasm"

    As usual, the poll numbers show people like the guy but dislike his policies. Great for winning a popularity contest, terrible for leading a country.

    January 26, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. John in WV

    Should be good news for the president knowing that a good percentage of those who disapprove would never approve regardless.

    January 26, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. raymond brown

    The american people are very unfair to president obama when it comes to what he his trying to do for the country,he his the only president that has attempted to fix our health care system,he his almost there but we as american dont want him to succeed,especially the white people of america

    January 26, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. audrey fryer

    I sure don't remember daily and weekly polls conducted on the presidency of George Bush – the MSM sure was pretty scared back then – what gives – you just acquired some fortitude now because you know Mr. Obama won't destroy you guys like Bush and Company would have. Come on, cut Mr. Obama some slack, he can't seem to make any of you happy, whether he does something or doesn't do something.

    January 26, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Jacob

    Republicans are EVIL! they hate, hate, HATE! it's the foundation of their party.

    January 26, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Ken

    Many of us 'liberals' disapprove cause we want him to get more into this. We want to see him fight for those things we elected him to spearhead.

    January 26, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Obama may be a nice guy–how do we know? any politician is as much an actor as anything else–but he's way to wedded to his "I know what you need better than you do" Liberal ideology. Under the pretext of doing things for the American people–whether they want it or not–he's perfectly willing to do things to the American people–which they definitely don't want.

    January 26, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    I want to hear TOTUS announce a new tax against all those evil people who earn more than $125,000 per year. This new program will be used to provide all of us earning $124,999 or less a new 50-inch flat screen PLUS an annual expense paid 2-week vacation for our families and/or "partners" to go to Hawaii. Oh yeah, we need our employers to pay us for those days off as well, since this is essential for family quality of life.

    January 26, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. notfooledbydistractions

    And most Americans probably thought we could turn around the Bush debacle overnight. I don't think the majority of people realize just how bad our economy was at the end of bushs term.

    Many complain about the efforts of the federal government, but where are the states responsibility in this crash? Many state and local governments did nothing to diversify their economic base, perhaps now they'll realize that the status quo just isn't good enough.

    I admire the president for his efforts, criticism can be levied on a number of fronts. It would definitely be nice if the republicans would choose to be a constructive part of the process, but I won't hold my breath. Their sole intent is to score political points, not resolve the situation.

    I just hope the country is patient and doesn't lurch back to the party whose economic and political philosophies landed us in this mess in the first place.

    It's going to take time, and it's time we act like adults realize this and stop acting like spoiled children.

    January 26, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Dan

    The president is a likable guy, so the people say he is ok, but his policies, attention, and intentions (agenda) are not popular and will never be as long as we love our republic!!!!!!!!!!!!
    By bringing campaign wizards to the WH, and not changing priorities, nothing will change as far as people view this administration!!!!!!

    January 26, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Stop the Nonsense

    Another poll that is a joke an so is the response.
    If Mr Obama had not gottenour financial istitutions back on track or worked to save major employers like GM and AIG ( all of which by the way were in the works before he took office) Where would the middle class be going for jobs?
    Ford announce today hiring 1200 people. sure it doesn't remeploy the thousands it laid off but its a start now that the bleeding has stopped.
    The middle class complaint is a joke. They( we) want more jobs, lower taxes AND government help and programs. HOW? What makes all that work? To pay for job stimulus and to pay for services we need money- that is taxes. No new taxes, no new jobs.
    Businesses getting a tax break is not a stimulus to business growth. They hide the earnings anyway by giving bonuses, buying equipment or other means. The Corporate shelter that any individual can form, has cost us billions of dollars in taxes at any level.
    This is not a democratic policy. It was put in place decades ago under
    administrations long gone but no recent Congress has done anything to stop it.

    January 26, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Think

    The Media has marginalized opposing views so badly that the unsophisticated are blind as bats. None of this helps the cause. The media has an agenda, and that is to make money. These polls are ludicrous and annoying.

    January 26, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Chano

    The average American is too busy shopping or watching TV to take the time to become educated on issues, so opinion polls are worthless.

    January 26, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Mississippi Mrs.

    Where there is half... there is hope.

    Pinch yourself dreamers... Being awake is a good first step.

    January 26, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. tpbco

    It's obviously Bushes' fault.

    January 26, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. nick

    The media needs to stop destroying mr. Obama!

    January 26, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. tdorch

    Mr. Obama is a good President it a shame he has a weak party that is backing him. I trust him more than any of our represenatives in Washington DC. The Democrats are failing to back their President's agenda. All I have to say to the Progessive's who wants Obama to be a Progressive George Bush, What are you going to Bicth about when Sarah Palin is your President, McConell is your Senate Leader and Bohner is the speaker of the house. Please don't complain, because your ignorance is hurting the Obama's Presidencey.

    January 26, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Laurie in Spokane

    What's the deal? Is Obama supposed to have fixed everything wrong in his first year.? It took Bush and his cronies 8 years to completely mess things up.....give Obama a chance for his progams to work. I for one am not unhappy with the man. He's brought new grace and ethic to the White House, something sadly lacking in the previous administration.

    January 26, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. obama the liar

    If he wasn't such an egotistical, self centered, narcissistic person who is starting to really believe he is the new messiah, i might believe that he is more than only a community organizer.

    January 26, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. LT. ROBERT

    WEAR A TIE!!!

    January 26, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. BOBBY MCBRIDE

    Part of what happened to the Democratic party in Mass last week is a result of the very real perception by an outraged public that, like when we watch a midnight infommercial, we have to dig through half-truths and spin to find the truth in what is told to us by politicians and the media.

    When you, CNN, describe polls that say the President is over 50% in popularity in terms of 'Most people support the President' and when he is below 50% in popularity that 'America is split', you become a participant in the problem that cost our party in Mass.

    I know, I know, it's not just you, but like someone once said, "You can do better".

    January 26, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Ethan

    I think that President Obama is capable of being a much stronger leader. I was quick to criticize him for being seemingly unable of making decisions on his own, or that he was too worried about his image and what others thought of him. But as the White House lead by the Obama Administration spends more and more money...and began to rush a health care bill that could be potentially dangerous through the legal system, I became a bit worried.

    All of the things I supported as a liberal came into question. And looking back I believed that the change that Obama promised to bring was going to be truly bi-partisan. How wrong I was.

    Yes, we are thankful he is not another Bush. I think he's done very well proving that. But Bush isn't the Devil. He was not the worst President ever (close though Jimmy Carter is a tough one to beat), he was a man of his convictions.

    I just want Obama to slow down. Change is never immediate. If he really does enforce a "spending freeze" then perhaps I can feel a little more comfortable with him as our leader.

    Our President surely shows signs of promise – I can still see that. He's got his heart in the right place – I'm just hoping that his head will follow and that calm rational thinking will follow him in all of his decisions.

    I will continue to support our President and the change he is striving for. But his policies must benefit all of us as a nation. I hope to see more decisions that benefit us all.

    January 26, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Tim

    It's not split, we are over whelmingly against the president. Would you still say split if it was 6-40 instead of 55-45?

    January 26, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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