October 21st, 2010
08:37 AM ET
4 years ago

More than half thinks Obama a one-termer

(CNN) – President Obama is busy trying to convince voters that Democratic incumbents deserve to keep their jobs, but a new poll out Thursday suggests a majority of Americans doesn’t think he deserves to keep his.

According to the survey from Gallup, only 39 percent of Americans say the president deserves to be re-elected while 54 percent think he should join the ill-fated ranks of one-term presidents.

Those numbers may be an ominous sign for the White House, which is expected to step up its re-election efforts shortly after the midterm election season is over.

But similar Gallup polling of past presidents suggests a lot can happen in two years to change public perception. After all, at this point in 2002, 62 percent of Americans said former President George Bush deserved reelection as the country resoundingly unified around the president in the months following the September 11 attacks.

But two years later, amid a war that was growing increasingly unpopular, Bush eked out only a narrow victory over Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

And at this time in 1994 – amid a struggling economy and legislative failures - only 38 percent of Americans said former President Bill Clinton deserved a second term. Clinton of course went on to win re-election easily two years later.

Moreover, in 1990, former President George H.W. Bush's reelection seemed all but certain given his high approvals at that time.

The latest Gallup poll surveyed 1,029 adults by telephone from October 14 to 17 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in August found similar numbers for the president when it comes to 2012: against an unnamed Republican candidate, that poll had the president losing by 5 points 50-45 percent.


Filed under: 2010 • 2012 • issues • President Obama
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Right Leaning Independent

    Boy, I can just imagine the interviews and speeches he will give once he hears this news!! I am sure we will learn how misinformed we voters are.. How the administration has failed in telling us how great their policies are for us... How they are great and voting him out will take us back to "failed policies" of the Repubs.... I wonder when these arrogant Liberals will realize it is their policies that are failing with us Americans??? Please bring back the Republican "failed policies". Most Americans had a better standard of living under these policies.....

    October 21, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. Lynn

    The Gallup polls use only GOP phone numbers. Do the people they call really want to return to the policies that got us in the mess or are they just stupid people? I'd almost like the GOP to win every seat, then watch how great they do the job. What short memories the voters have.

    October 21, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. Michael

    This is not a flattering perspective on the attention span of most Americans.
    We sat through two terms of the clown who got us into this mess, and now we are unwilling to spend the same amount of time with the man we elected to get us out, and who has been actively involved with improving life for the American majority despite the most vigorous campaigns of sabotage, hate, and misinformation since the Nazi Party.
    Can you not see what is in front of you? Wake up!

    October 21, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  4. Peter

    As a regular CNN reader I am finding these pointless polls more and more pointless and irritating, even if this one was done by Gallup. 1,000 people were polled???? really!!!! Is someone trying to justify their job?

    October 21, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. Larry

    u must be asking swamp people or something cause there's no way in hell im giving power back to the group that got us here in the first place. i din't suffer from memory lose.

    October 21, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. ChumBucket

    Anything can happen between now and '12 elections, but if Obama doesn't do what Clinton did, and become more moderate, and be more willing to reach accross the isle, then yes, he will be an OTP (one term president).

    October 21, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  7. Monster Zero

    Could you imagine if this idiot made it a two term run, our Nation would be run by Unions and Big government where everyone would be equally poor. I cannot wait for 2012!

    October 21, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  8. Bruce

    Gee, a one-termer, ya think? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this is how it will go down.

    October 21, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. KDirty

    Though I, for one, will be voting for him, I do think there's a good chance that President Obama will not be re-elected. It's sad that when a man tries to do what's RIGHT, and not just what's POPULAR, he gets crucified.

    October 21, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  10. Marie MD

    I would like to know the age/area of the country and party affiliation of these polls. both my Democrat and republican friends and family members give, and want, another four years of President Obama.
    It's obvious for the Dems, but the reps don't see anyone capable of winning a general election from the cast of thousands of teabaggers, excuse me, the new gop has on their list.
    i also don't see how Independents who voted for the President in 2008 can turn around and embrace the right wing nuts in just two years. The rethug pool is full of pond scum, liars, cheaters and lunatics who don't know the first thing about governing or the Constituion.

    October 21, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. Puzzled European

    Americans never seize to amaze. They would rather chop their own noses off to spite the other fellow. Paul? Palin? O'donnell? Angle? You have got to be kidding. Voting mere zealots into office as if its not going to effect you at all.
    Funny Americans.

    October 21, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. ED

    One-term would be a Godsend.

    October 21, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. Scott

    You've undercut any significance to the polling numbers with the caveat at the end. So why is it important to even post this?

    October 21, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  14. Rafael

    I think obviously obama is not going to be president again

    October 21, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  15. Sherri W.W.

    Yes~a lot CAN happen in 2 years!We will see what folks think 6 months or so from now,when all the dust settles.Pres.Obama may have made some miscalculations,but by and large,he stands for middle class America~and THAT is what we will need to get out of this mess!~Even more so after these elections,I am afraid! So,lets wait&see,instead of predicting something so likely to change by the week.

    October 21, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  16. fairytalesa35

    Its sad the media and fictitious surveys are now the "deciders" in this country. No matter what snake oil they're selling, we're buying.

    October 21, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  17. Jose Lopez

    I think that too. It's a waste of time and resources see this president go from one city to another give campaign speech and the country with so many issues and he the only thing to do is go outside on the Air Force One (cost millons to move that) to blame the republican and the bush for all the mistake that his administration has do. WHAT A WASTE.

    October 21, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice aren't they?
    Fortunately, and in spite of the GOP, reality always asserts itself.
    Obama 2012.

    October 21, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  19. Riley

    I'd send Obama back to Chicago TODAY, if I had a choice. He's been a FAILURE!!!

    October 21, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. Edward

    Keep in mind that these poll only include those with land lines. 84% of the people in the country use cell phones yet pollster only call those with land lines. The fact that 80% of Democrats give the president a thumbs up on his job performance and Democrats out number Republicans in this country should tell you that this poll is not credible. Call people with cell phones only, or cell phones and land lines rather than land line only and these polls will have a more accurate view of where Americans stand.

    October 21, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. Alistair

    They said that about Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and guess what they served two terms.

    October 21, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  22. Paul

    It's only two years to the next general election, and we probably know who's in the Republican field. Isn't it time to start running direct polls of Obama against some of these likely opponents? Those numbers would be rather more revealing, I think.

    October 21, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  23. Mikey

    That is with a 9.6% unemployment rate. In two years, if unemployment is below 6%, reelection will be a walk in the park.

    October 21, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  24. ohioannie

    We are fortunate to have Barack Obama in the White House; he is step by step following his campaign pledges and working to clean up the messes that were left for him in the areas of diplomacy, ethics, and financial systems. I will certainly support him with my vote, work, and contributions for a second term.

    October 21, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  25. maf

    1029 adults surveyed???? These polls are dreck!! CNN – stop trying to legitimize non-stories!

    October 21, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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