July 22nd, 2010
12:30 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval dips but not among blacks

President Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent again, according to a new CNN poll.
President Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent again, according to a new CNN poll.

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's approval rating among all Americans has dipped below 50 percent for the first time since March, but he remains extraordinarily popular among African-Americans, who also overwhelmingly approve of how the president has handled race relations, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 47 percent of the public approves of the job Obama is doing in the White House, with half saying they disapprove of his performance in office.

Full results [PDF]

According to the poll, more than nine out of ten black respondents give Obama a thumbs up on how he is handling his job. 57 percent of Hispanics questioned also approve, but only 37 percent of white respondents feel that way.

The survey's release comes as stories about racial tensions have dominated domestic news coverage the past two weeks. The poll was conducted July 16-21, after a well publicized dispute between the Tea Party movement and the NAACP, but mostly before the controversial firing of an African-American employee of the Agriculture Department because of alleged racism.

Overall, 12 percent of all Americans think that Obama's presidency has started a new era in race relations and another 39 percent say race relations have improved since Obama took office. A quarter of all Americans say there has been no change in race relations during that time and another 25 percent say that race relations have gotten worse.

"Most blacks continue to believe that Obama has led to an improvement in race relations, while most whites don't think so," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the optimism about racial matters that first greeted Obama is gone."

The survey indicates that 59 percent of blacks think that race relations will always be a problem. That figure is back up to pre-Obama levels last measured in 2005, and is 14 points higher than last year. The number of whites who think race relations will always be a problem is also up - from 42 percent last year to 47 percent now.

"Blacks, Hispanics and whites agree that the Democratic party does a good job reaching out to minorities, and all groups also agree that the Republican party does not," adds Holland.

Thirty-nine percent of blacks say they are still thrilled by the fact that Obama is president. That's down from 53 percent who felt that way at the start of his presidency.

"But the drop-off started over a year ago and is not a reflection of recent events," points out Holland.

What about the year and a half old Tea Party movement?

According to the poll, a quarter of all Americans believe that almost all or most Tea Party supporters are prejudiced against minorities, and another 35 percent say that at least some are. The survey indicates that blacks are much more likely than whites to perceive racism in the tea party.

The poll's release also comes on the same day that Netroots Nation convention, a major annual conference of progressives, kicks off in Las Vegas. The convention occurs at a time when some in the progressive community are disappointed in the Obama Administration for not pushing harder for more of their agenda. According to the survey, 38 percent of respondents disapprove of the president's performance in office because he is too liberal, but nine percent say the give Obama the thumbs down because is not liberal enough.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned. A special sample of 308 African-Americans and 303 Hispanics were interviewed for this poll. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN Polls • President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Shirley in California

    Yes, for the most part I approve too. What this man and his family have had to endure is unbelievable! They are being tested/watched closely and used in poll after poll – consensus after consensus which is disgusting. To say he is bringing out race baiting and causing race relations to fall apart is absurd. This MAN ran as a MAN for the democratic party. Not as a black or white man just as a man. Those who can't help their prejudicial sick selves just had to keep calling him "the first black this and the first black that". You know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourselves. No president in history has had to endure this kind of scrutiny. Until you people come to grips and seek God you will NEVER be able to accept him for what he is and judge his accomplishments/failures fairly.

    I will proudly cast my vote for him again and you can color me anyway you want.

    July 22, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Riley

    It's sad that many black voters follow Obama BLINDLY...simply because he is black. SO, who's really RACIST?

    July 22, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. ingrid

    Just letting people know...I support him as our president and I find it very odd that given all that he has had on his plate (and keeps getting) why we are not giving him the latitude he deserves. There is NO way McCain could have handled all that Obama has had to deal with since day one. Moreover, the Republicans have offered no real choice during the election and still do not offer any alternatives; the party only seems to function as obstructionists and to stir up trouble.

    July 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Flawed polling a last resort for the coporate structure.........

    The middle class are a variety of colors. Together....we make up the majority. When we cast our vote to protect the middle class...we cannot be beaten.....and Republicans along with the Coporate structure know it. So they come up with these flawed polls because that's the only hope they have..........We'll see in 2012..........when 2008 repeats itself.....

    July 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. scott

    its not about race yeaaaa rigggggt

    July 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Zero Hour

    I'd say a hefty percentage of Democrats are prejudiced against whites, with most of those bigots being brainwashed, cringing whites themselves.

    July 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. omnin

    Go figure. This is what I was afraid of. We were not ready for a Black President maybe in another 100 years or so but not now with the TeaParty/Klan running around.

    July 22, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. U.S. Common Sense

    Is this suppose to shock any one? The Democrats naturally carry over 85% of the black vote in national elections, so it's only obvious that the support would remain high.

    July 22, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Hugo

    You can't blame a black for maintaining support, it was historic, wrong guy, but historic. Although I do believe that many of them that work hard for themselves and own businesses have realized they are being used....

    July 22, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    I'd say what these numbers show is that black people aren't bigoted against a black president as so many whites in this country are. If Obama walked on water and raised the dead there'd still be morons like willie brown and 'four and the door' tearing him down. these reality-challenged types need to hang out at Fux Noise and post their hate there. and speaking of Fux Noise, they have proven themselves to be as morally bankrupt as the party they shill for. i hope Ms Sherrod sues them into oblivion after what they did to her.

    July 22, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. annie s

    White, middle class small business owner here......and I'd vote for this man again in a heartbeat. Americans may not realize it now, but Obama's policies are exactly what we need to remain viable in the coming years.

    July 22, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. chris

    of course 9 out of 10 blacks approve. he's messing up the rest of the country so everyone will get brought down to their level of poverty. plus it's a racial thing for them. they wouldn't say he was doing a bad job under ANY circumstances!!! also he's given them insurance and benefits to keep'em happy

    July 22, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Lets expose Rush Limbaughs staff.

    Hes doing a fine job.You can tell because Rush is blowing a gasket,and we love it.hahaha

    July 22, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Naqib

    And continues to fall...

    Bye Bye Now...

    One and Done... the Carter second term... lol

    July 22, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. son of csm wiggins

    Tea Party folks we here talking about big government and taxes is what fuels you but to be honest we just don't. Believe you

    July 22, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. w l jones

    I here so much about African American but having trouble finding these invisible people.

    July 22, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Handofdoom

    The biggest government waste to remove is the salaries we are currently paying the Obama's administation, also current Congress. The American taxpayer is CLEARLY , 'not getting their money's worth on either of these investments '.

    July 22, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Chris (Sacramento CA)

    He is going down down down. Obama is a fraud and should be thrown out of office

    July 22, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Probama in Paradise

    This white woman proudly approves and supports the Obama administration! What a relief it is to have an intelligent, thoughtful and deliberate man in the president's seat.

    July 22, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Keith

    Voting for or approving of a president because he is black, is equivalent to NOT voting for or approving of a president because he is black. Racism is not forward or reverse. It's simple and ugly racism. White's have learned to work to accept people regardless of their color. This is obvious as Obama is in the White House. Now it's Black America's turn to follow Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, not just take a day off in February and reminisce.

    July 22, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Susan Gabrielson

    The following quote supposedly from Pres. Obama has been circulating in an email....it is sent without a source and I am trying to verify if it is a true quote ...anyone know?? It is about a bill that would have required military personnel to pay for their own private health insurance to cover injuries they sustained while on duty.

    "Look, it's an all volunteer force," Obama complained. "Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now they whine about bearing the costs of their choice? It doesn't compute.." "I thought these were people who were proud to sacrifice for their country, "Obama continued "I wasn't asking for blood, just money. With the country facing the worst financial crisis in its history, I'd have thought that the patriotic thing to do would be to try to help reduce the nation's deficit.. I guess I underestimated the selfishness of some of my fellow Americans."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    July 22, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. cjr

    i'm not black – just your plain wasp – but I still support Obama – the black community must encourage everyone to register and vote – the hispanic community must do the same – Let's get rid the unamerican white repubicans- most of which are old, and rich and do not care about the country anyway!

    July 22, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Fools2234

    Good maybe come election time this feminist appeasing idiot will be kicked out of office, him and his mangina sidekick vp biden:)

    July 22, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Wow here we ago again with the race-baiting agenda again. Blacks this Whites that. I'm white and I voted for Obama – and it had nothing to do with race whatsover. Of course nobody ever calls me for polls, nor asks for my opinion.

    July 22, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Dale

    Considering the state of the economy, 47% isn't bad. The economy really has an effect on these polls.

    The real imporant question is this: Which 47% is it? The far right people despise Obama of course. But the far left people also do not approve of Obama, since heath care reform didn't include a "public option", we didn't cut and run from the wars, don't ask-don't tell still exists and so on. By being a moderate-left president, he loses some far-left voter approval and gains some more moderates. But in a general election, those far-left voters will still vote for him, since the other option will be (gasp!) a right-wing candidate. This is textbook politics. Near-center candidates have the advantage in a general election. Obama is trying to position himself near center.

    So overall, I think Obama is setting himself up well for a win in 2012. The key is for the economic recovery to continue, and no major terrorist attacks on the US homeland. If both of these take place, Obama wins in 2012.

    July 22, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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