CNN Poll: Obama approval rating drops as fears of depression rise
June 8th, 2011
11:02 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval rating drops as fears of depression rise

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's overall approval rating has dropped below 50 percent as a growing number of Americans worry that the U.S. is likely to slip into another Great Depression within the next 12 months, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday also indicate that the economy overall remains issue number one to voters, with other economic issues - unemployment, gas prices and the federal deficit - taking three of the remaining four spots in the top five.

Read the full results (pdf).

Forty-eight percent of people questioned say they approve of how the president is handling his duties in the White House, down six points from late May. An equal 48 percent say they disapprove of how Obama's performing, up three points from late last month.

The poll indicates a slight deterioration among Democrats and independent voters, with the president's approval rating among Democrats down three points to 82 percent and down five points among independents to 42 percent.

"But far and away his biggest drop has come among Republicans. In May, over a quarter approved of President Obama's handling of his job, but that is down to 14 percent now, a clear indication that any advantage he gained from taking out Osama bin Laden has faded with time," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey Obama's strength remains his personal appeal: Three-quarters of all Americans say they approve of him personally, including a plurality of Republicans. But positive views of the president's personality may be trumped by economic jitters.

"Obama's approval among Republicans spiked after bin Laden's death, and no one expected it to stay that high for another 18 months. But the White House is probably worried more about the much smaller drops among independents and even Democrats. Those shifts are likely due to concerns about the economy, particularly unemployment," adds Holland.

Forty-eight percent say that another Great Depression is likely to occur in the next year - the highest that figure has ever reached. The survey also indicates that just under half live in a household where someone has lost a job or are worried that unemployment may hit them in the near future. The poll was conducted starting Friday, when the Labor Department reported that the nation's jobless rate edged up to 9.1 percent.

"The poll reminded respondents that during the Depression in the 1930s, roughly one in four workers were unemployed, banks failed, and millions of Americans were homeless or unable to feed their families," says Holland. "And even with that reminder, nearly half said that another depression was likely in the next 12 months. That's not just economic pessimism - that's economic fatalism."

According to the survey, more than eight in ten Americans say that the economy is in poor shape, a number that has stubbornly remained at that level since March.

Not surprisingly, with that much economic angst, the economy is the number one issue, the only one that more than half of the public says will be extremely important to their vote for president next year. Nearly all issues that at least four in ten say will be extremely important to their vote are domestic issues. Terrorism also makes that list, but Afghanistan is fairly low and Libya is tied for dead last out of the 15 issues tested. Abortion and gay marriage also rank very low, indicating that 2012 may be an election that is shaped more by bread-and-butter issues than social and moral concerns.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 3-7, with 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone. 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 • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. BinFL

    I agree with one of the posters who said that Americans are fickle. How could his approval rating go up after killing Bin Laden then sink so many points because of one month's job numbers – RIDICULOUS!! Are Americans so stupid that they can't see the big picture or are they just too blinded by the media propaganda? First of all, the Repug governors have contributed to the high unemployment numbers by laying off public workers...so, anyone with any logical sense would realize the Repugs have this all planned because they know a poor economy is their only hope for re-election. Also, has anyone noticed that the gas prices starting rising right after the Repubs won the house? They were fine the first two years of Obama's term. Wake up people – this is all a ploy by big business and the Repub's rich friends to help them get back in the White House and also in the Senate only so they can continue the destruction they started under Bush/Cheney. Elect Repubs and we'll be in WWIII for sure!!!!!!

    June 8, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Bill from GA

    Much of the problem with Pres. Obama's ratings are that the news media will not mention anything good.

    Job GROWTH of 52,000 per month is seen as terrible; what do you call JOB LOSSES of over 750,000 per month, like we had before Pres. Obama's stimulus started??answer: Bush policies)

    June 8, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. AZ DEM

    @ Four and the Door

    No the majority of Americans who vote are going to vote may not look at the calendar but they are going to look at what voting candidate A or B into office should ensure them. Are they going to vote for a candidate who will sign off on the ending of medicare and drastically cut other entitlement programs with no regard for the lower and middle class families? I think what WILL help the Obama administration is that the GOP has no real candidate who would do much better than Obama has done in his 1st term..in Nov of 2008 our country was hemorraging jobs and the auto industry in the US was ready to crumble Obama made tough decisions that weren't popular with many including himself. Until the GOP stops allowing fringe elements to control their party they won't be running anything for much longer.

    June 8, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Senor Ed

    Where are all those jobs that tax cuts for the rich were supposed to create? What has the Republican House done to create jobs? C'mon, they've had 5 months now, what's the hold up? The way the Republicons were yapping before the midterm elections I expected we would be at 5% unemployment by now. Could it be the Republicons have no interest at all in seeing the economy recover? They'd rather ruin the country in the hopes of defeating Obama than work together with Democrats to fix the problems.

    June 8, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. diridi

    you did great in 2 years....it took eight years of Bush the Thushhhhhhhhhhhhh that messed this nation....you have 16 months....good luck....show positive....my vote for you....obama2012........bring oil prices down....get manipulators....

    June 8, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    Where's the poll on the repug Congress?? Are Americans satisfied with the success of their jobs plan?? Anybody seen one??

    June 8, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Cederico

    CNN that question about a new Depression is just way out of line....come on. You all are trying to create a storyline...not report the news. People are very pessimistic and things are not great but we are no where near a Depression. We have had 7 straight quarters of GDP growth, we have had at least 8 months of job growth from the private sector, the DOW has almost double in value since early 2009, banks are profitable again, the US Auto industry is thriving again and corporations are sitting on trillions in profits. Yet you all ask a question about a potential Depression?!?!?!

    Despite you all best efforts to make everything all bad...the President still has even approval / disapproval. He is at 48% and if you look at it all he needs is to convince 3 percent more to approve to likely narrowly win re-election in 2012. If we get more robust job growth in coming months and gas prices continue to fall then he should be in good shape.

    June 8, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. ted

    In all my 60 yrs. of being a tax paying citizen, I,ve come to a conclusion about Politics in America! Any American who does,nt have (at least 5 million in the bank) is a complete "Self-Destructive Moron who does,nt know "Diddly" about economics??? The Gop have destroyed employment in this country? How sensible people could think that our President could fix 8 years of "Plundering" in two yrs. "Should have their head examined!! Gop? God help us all?

    June 8, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    If unemployment stays high and the economy remains in the doldrums, Obama will be beatable if the GOP/Tea Party runs a moderate candidate like Romney or Huntsman and not an extremist from the social conservative/Tea Party wing of the party like Bachmann, Palin, or Santorum.

    June 8, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Democrat Swamp Inspector

    Let's try to keep the conversation truth based libtards... George Bush inherited a recession from Bill Clinton. He correctly identified it and got the country moving again, then 9/11 hit. Even after that he had 52 months of economic and job growth. Obama could only DREAM about doing as well as Bush did. If it wasn't for the Democrat free mortgages for every low income person program, the country would still be steaming right along.

    June 8, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. AAA

    We have to stop blaming the president for every economic numbers, business failures or market report. Don't you understand he is not creating the problem or he wants the economy not to recover so people can get jobs. I think the public is being very crude and rude to attack the president at every angle. We ought be ashamed of ourselves for our behaviors. Instead of asking what can we do to fix our problem. Shame on the Republicans/ Tea Party members for being out there to bash the president at every chance you get when your parties could not even get along. If these the political future we are setting for the future politicians/ young generation we are being stupid. the Republicans / Tea Party should get off there rockers, help the president, compromise and lets put our country back to work. There is no sense being a road block for success. Poll numbers and approval ratings are a joke. Number one you only question a selected group of people, which is wrong to start with and the people that make the assumptions the so called political analysts are wrong as well. To me numbers mean absolutely nothing. I value substance, vision, trying to reach, be humble and think for the American people, fix our economy and put people back to work. So stop your foolishness saying the presidents numbers are down.and for those who want to make Obama a one time president stay tuned. Some of you never liked him from the get go but we have made a history in our country to have the first black president and we cherish that things are looking up instead of playing which I call showing your true colors. We love our country so lets work to get it better.

    June 8, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. bb

    These polls can't ALL be right. I highly question them – too many sharp swings and too many inconsistencies from poll to poll – especially the ones taken in the summer months, which always seem to be skewed to the right over time. Cyclical? Vacation season having a bearing on respondents? Don't know what it is, but every single year, it's the same thing from June to about September.

    June 8, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Marry

    Considering that the President had the GOP/TP as the party of NO, HELL NO to try to work with without any positive input from them (even though they created much of the mess the US is in) he did an outstanding job. More has to be done and I am sure he will. The GOP/TP has forgone all credibility to do any job – not to mention a better job. It shows in so many "sound bites" but mostly in their conviction that is more for the rich – less for the poor and middle class! Whoever votes for any „conservative line“is being taken for a rough ride!

    June 8, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    First jobs

    Past 6 moths many states are focusing on social issues

    You Cut WIC bottom of that chain lose jobs

    You cut Medicare bottom of that chain lose Jobs

    Now many have credit score to buy house but they are not buying because they don’t know what will happen tomorrow

    There is no team work

    president .congress senate and states has to work together

    June 8, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. terry,va

    It is amazing to me that 48% of the American people approve of this fool. It has to be the 48% that pay no taxes and have their hand out for Obummie's welfare state. The working people or people that actually want to work are feed up with this fool. His big economic win was McDonald's creating one half of the 54,000 jobs the US economy picked up in May. I hope all you recent college grads who voted for Obummie like your job at McDonald's.

    Also 33% of the employers that are offering healthcare for their employees are ditching current medical plans because of Obummie care. Obummie's policies have ruined this country. Even the big dumbocrap supporters of Obummie care are asking for exemptions for their voters.

    June 8, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. jrobinson

    You libs are completely unhinged. You have to stop giving Obama a pass for this failing economy; especially since its his leftist ideology that is destroying. All of you Lefties out there seem to fall into two groups: either you're pretending it isn't a problem (and republicans are just making it up), or you believe there is a problem (and you're blaming it all on republicans).

    Three years into this economy, and Obama owns it. He's broken all his promises, and everything he's done has made it worse. When Bush was inaugurated, he inherited the Clinton recession – which at the time was the largest recession since the depression. By this time in his Presidency, he'd already created 2 million jobs, and stabilized the economy. Unemployment never got above 6.5%. And he did this without borrowing 6.2 trillion from your grandkids.

    In contrast, the democrats took control of congress in 2007. They had total control over all branches in 2008. They're Kenesyian spending and Progressive economics are responsible for the mess we're in. The very idea that we can spend our way to prosperity is ludicrous.

    The rest of you are so steeped in DNC talking points and koolaid, its almost shocking. The very idea that republicans are somehow only "for the rich and evil corporations" and "take from the poor", is such a caricature. You libs are so funny... you think republicans are like scrooge mcduck and they sit on their piles of money and twist their sinister pencil mustaches and laugh at you while they try to destroy your lives by giving you the cheapest gas on the planet. You're all such a joke.

    The rest of your comments are such a stew of bad information, faulty assumptions, poor economics, and political brainwashing... I don't really even know where to begin.

    June 8, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Vince

    Maybe a depression is what we need. The last time the gap between the top 5% and 95% of the rest of us was this great was in the late 1920s, before the first depression...maybe we need a "reset".

    June 8, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Brian

    My God are people fickle. Things are better than they were 2 years ago, no doubt about that, the problem is they aren't getting better fast enough. Depression? Only if we elect a moron like Ron Paul to the White House.

    June 8, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. logic in LA

    if the press would go back to 2 hours of coverage at night report news instead of trying to make it and not have to twist things for ratings, maybe Americans would not panic and we could recover.
    They scared people into losing Trillions in the stock market in 2008 instead of teaching what history taught us about 1929. They doing the same thing now- and causing panic.
    And RAISE TAXES ON EVERYONE! Another history lesson- lowest tax rate in history- the 20's – just prior to the crash. Second lowest the 200's just prior to the largest recession in history! See the trend?

    June 8, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. kyle

    At least he's trying to fix the economy, even if he's being obstructed by the big buisness, and big oil GOP, I'm not that much of a fool to think the Greed party would do better.

    June 8, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    What has been the Republican solution to the high price of OPEC oil? Call up the Saudis, and ask them to pump more. Does anyone remember what happened when Bush-43 made a spectacle out of it and paid them a visit? He was declined, and they cut production further raising prices. What would Republicans do today about the high price of oil? Nothing.

    What has been the Republican solution to create jobs? Cut taxes and introduce tax credits to companies that ship jobs overseas. The Bush-43 years saw the slowest job growth on record. Jobs grew faster during the Great Depression than during his time in office. Did you know that companies can get a tax credit for paying taxes overseas, just like you do for paying state taxes? Did you know that? Imagine that. US companies only pay X% in taxes, including what they pay overseas.

    June 8, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. FM

    Folks have to give themselves an extra thinking. If there are any who are thinking changing the leader at this time is the only solution, should think more deeply. The world economy has changed everywhere. Even those who showed in the past they did the good job in economy, not this time. If people are not careful and let the tolerance slip, things can turn from better to worse!

    June 8, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    @ Democrat Swamp Inspector

    just WHAT recession did President Bush inherit from President Clinton? Like most FoxNewsies you guys tend to create your own "facts" I guess turning a surplus into a deficit was indeed a recession.

    June 8, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. Po Cho

    Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?

    June 8, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. james

    the economy is not getting better!!!!! stop listening to MSNBC

    June 8, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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