January 26th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
5 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. Obama Opportunist

    Whatever Obama says in his State of the Union address, he shouldn't give any material to Republicans for future attacks on him. The man was handed ashes from which to repair this country and he needs time to address the situations requiring needs. It takes time to grow a plant and this is also applicable to this nation! So, the president needs to foster patience and NOT give the Republicans fuel for future lambasting! He risks looking weak when a strong president is desired. So, thoughtful and cogent attention to words that tell the truth without fostering recoiling from the Republicans is needed!

    January 26, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Shameful

    The Republicans brought the entire world to the brink of financial destruction, and now they're crying foul at everything the Dems do.

    Go ahead, elect the Repubs in office again and this time we'll be finished!

    I'm moving to Cuba if that happens..

    January 26, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Zaley

    How easily we all forget....Americans are so impatient. We're falling into the Republican trap once again. Next time, I hope the Republicans take us down deeper to the bottom of the barrel, because that's what we deserve for falling for their lies. We're stupid.

    January 26, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. altapres

    Obama is falling down like the song for the london bridge.

    January 26, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Willy Brown

    I don't approve of him.

    January 26, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. diridi

    what approval. Are you blind. Didn't he inherit huge deficit, huge problems, two wars???? Be a right minded guy, not be nasty...ok, I still beleive this pres. than Bush..and leiberman, and McCain...ok...I have brain..so should you...fellow americans...god blesses us..

    January 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Enough is Enought

    If you are a trial lawyer or union member he is there for you. Both of these groups destroy jobs and are poison to the economy and taxpayers.

    January 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Frankly, I think Obama's approval ratings are being significantly manipulated.

    Most of the people I talk to, are not at all happy with the performance at this point in time, including many of those who voted for him.

    They are even less enchanted with the Congress.

    January 26, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. John from LA

    Oh Please Oh Please let BO be a one term President-His inexperience is REALLY SHOWING THESE DAYS!!!!

    January 26, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. joel

    Obama is doing exactly what he said he was going to do, he talked about health care reform in great detail during his campaign. Maybe voters should have payed attention during the election because the approval ratings are wishy washy whiners and republicans that were not going to give him a chance in the first place.

    January 26, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    It was interesting how Obama addressed the issue about the lack of promised transparency in the Health Care deliberations when asked by Diane Sawyer. He pushed it off as being a problem they are having in The Senate, not the White House.

    So his Senate gets a free pass for political gamesmanship and back room deals as long as he is not in the room? ( what...he's out in the hall hanging out with the Republicans? ) Do you think he would have any problem signing whatever garbage they came up with once it got to his desk? He would sign it in a Chicago minute.

    January 26, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. AXH

    Vote him out!

    January 26, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Jane/Seattle

    If President Obama would just lead and stop trying to appease, please Republicans, Blue, Yellow, Red, and every other color Dogs, we could get some Positive Actions Done for the Good of All American citizens and our Collective Commons!

    The Big Problem IS who do these "elected" folks REALLY Work for? Corporate Interests Always Call the Shots as We The People get Forced to PAY! The other Big Problem is that Common Interests and Predatory Capitalist Interests are not aligned! Predators MUST have a HOST. We The People ARE their HOST! This also applies to the Rest of this World. This IS The REASON we find Poverty Everywhere.

    Too Many Americans Let the Cons Con Them! I am NOT Conned into thinking Any Capitalist, Monopolist has my Interests at Heart! This Diversity of Ideas is fooling so many as to be tragic. If Pres. Obama is to succeed, he needs to stop trying to please everyone and do what is best for all, even if it kills his political career. This would Prove Integrity! Peace

    January 26, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Our family of Independents still support President Obama!

    WE WANT OBAMA TO BE STRONG & FIGHT FOR HIS AGENDA, WHICH IS WHY WE VOTED FOR HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    January 26, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Trevis Berry

    President Obama, were is the transparency you promised when running for office? Slick speaches are not cutting it anymore. I thought you would be different than the rest of those clowns in Washington. I guess I was wrong.

    January 26, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. steve

    Any president that is faced with such a challenge to be effective will need to do broadly unpopular choices. I think Obama is too intellectual for many to follow. I my self don't have a problem with the strategy but see many peoples issues are not unfounded.
    As much as one would not want to admit how dependent we are on our financial system it is attached to every movement in our society. It is ugly and it is the lynch pin. It is the beast that needs to be addressed. Many want to slay this beast be we depend so much on its mechanisms that we would kill ourselves. This is the dance Obama has to do and I would say anyone is a fool to say they know exactly how to lead this dance.

    January 26, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Ruth

    You have to remember what Obama had put on his plate when he took office. Eight years of mis-management, deceit, lies and distrust. In addition-two wars. I don't think anyone could have done any better in his first year in office. Not even Houdini. Give this man time to clean up this god-awful mess George Bush and Dick Cheney made. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken --.

    January 26, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Debra

    Talk about love of country!
    Why are our elected officials hell bent on making sure that the President of the United does nothing good for the people of this country. If this is love of country, then call me a hater. I am sick of hearing politicians say "what the american people want." They have no clue about the suffering that is going on this country. The american people want the people they elected to office to come together and make this country better. Instead, what we are getting is a bunch of self-serving morons who care nothing about the good of this country . They all need to take good long look in the mirror .
    The hard-working people who carry this country on their back, deserve so much better!

    January 26, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Tiny Tim

    It took 8 years to create the economic mess we are now experiencing and now some want to string up Obama for not doing enough. He bailed out wall street and provided a stimulus package which is beginning to work. He also has enhanced our prestige abroad and we no longer have to hold our breath and cross our fingers and hope the President does not say or do something incredibly stupid or embarrassing when on the world stage. There's some sophistication and intelligence in the white house. Big step forward. As distasteful as it was to save those soul-less greed mongers on wall street, it had to be done for the good of us all. It was never a matter of the "them" (wall street) or "us". If we didn't save "them" first, there might not be much "us" left. The only real problem is that Obama is not FDR. People trusted and believed FDR despite the continuous republican mantra covering pretty much the same thing as current republicans are doing. The Obama message is not all that much different than FDR's which, by the way, saved America from it's own greed. It is stunning how short our collective memory is. What can we possibly expect after one year?

    January 26, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. rta

    I am so tired of the weekly and daily polls. I don't want to be governed through the media, I am so tired of limbaugh, o'reilly, beck, herbert, scarbourogh, geist, noonan, king, blitzer who use their platforms as reading tea leaves and guessing what is about to happen ,and the politicians mccain, boehner, mcconnell, cantor, bachman, pelosi, reid, bayh, palin, steele,wilson,weiner, grayson, demint who fanned flames but do nothing positive for the american people. I voted for obama, I heard all of his speeches, i heard the promises but while i am disappointed he was not able to get a lot done in one year,i blame the american people for not holding all of the politicans accountable, not just the ones people don't like such as the flawed tea partiers but the ones that whined, made deals instead of looking out for the best interest of all of the american people. tea partiers you want to be productive , go after the banks, health lobbyists, oil lobbyists, credit card lobbyists etc.
    most of us who work, looking for work can not show up and not be productive. we might have to meet deadlines , goals but we can't afford to waste time that congress has in not working together but holding tight to their personal beliefs and ideas that benefitted no one,one side being obstructionist and the other stubborn. I don't want to know what the president is going to say before he says it, i want to know even if the congress will be respectful to the office of the president and look and act like adults. I believe obama was given a bad hand, but i believe the american people contributed to that by not holding politicans accountable and not in the way the tea partiers or liberal or conservatives do it , fighting each other instead of finding common ground to agree and move us forward for the economy, job creation, education, health care.

    January 26, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. jon rasmussen

    It took 3 decades to create the current mess and globalization may haue been but no involved the American citizen. Treaties behind closed doors! Gouernment sold America. No wonder we are mad and getting madder. All the corpations are chasing the money and that is in China. Middle East and India where slave labor is all the rage. Supply Economics is bankrupt.

    January 26, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I feel more comfortable with ANY mistake that Obama could make because I trust his decision-making process, it actually involves advisors, facts, and deliberation. Therefore in the eventuality that he would have to reverse direction it should'nt be that hard to do. Obama still inspires me with confidence. I am particularly partial to his admission that he is not concerned about getting re-elected, but about doing the right thing.

    We were blessed with the right President at this time in our national history, someone whose main concern is America NOT his pockets.

    January 26, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. MatthewDetroit

    Barry is One and Done.

    This guy is a loser.

    Worse then Jimmy Carter.

    He is adding 3 Trillion to the national debt in his first 2 years.
    Amazing.

    Reagan. 1.5 trillion in 8 years.
    Bush 1.5 trillion in 4 years.
    Clinton 2.4 trillion in 8 years.
    Bush II 5 trillion in 8 years.

    Barry. Obama. 1.45 trillion in 1 year.
    Barry. Obama . 1.35 trillion in year 2.
    Barry. Obama. 1.4 trillion in year 3.
    Barry. Obama 1.4 trillion in year 4.
    Congress estimates this joker may DOUBLE the national debt.
    He makes Bush look like a saver.

    January 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Robin

    Has Obama even done anything yet?

    Well, besides blaming Bush, apologizing to our enemies, and feeling sorry for terrorists?

    January 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Selma Crandall

    Obama and crew are dead set to destroy independence and profitability in the US. They are not patriots of the US Constitution and common good. They are focusing on what is good for their special interests only, not the Good Ole Joe's of America.

    January 26, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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