CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down
July 22nd, 2011
01:01 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's approval rating is down to 45 percent, driven in part by growing dissatisfaction on the left with the president's track record in office, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll also indicates that the Republican "brand" is taking a beating in the minds of Americans.

Read full results (pdf).

The survey's Friday release comes as the Obama administration and top congressional officials continue talks on a potential deal tying roughly $3 trillion in new savings over the next decade to an increase in the nation's debt ceiling. If Congress and the President fail to raise the country's $14.3 trillion limit by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates, a declining dollar and increasingly jittery financial markets, among other problems.

According to the poll, the president's 45 percent approval rating is down three points from June. Fifty-four percent of people questioned disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties, up six points from last month. His 54 percent disapproval rating ties the all-time high in CNN polling that the president initially reached just before last year's midterm elections.

"But drill down into that number and you'll see signs of a stirring discontent on the left," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-eight percent say they disapprove because President Obama has been too liberal, but 13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough - nearly double what it was in May, when the question was last asked, and the first time that number has hit double digits in Obama's presidency."

Looking at that figure another way, roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he's not been liberal enough.

Obama's approval rating among liberals has dropped to 71 percent, the lowest point in his presidency. And the number of Democrats who want the party to renominate Obama next year, now at 77 percent, is relatively robust by historical standards but is also down a bit since June.

"It's likely that this is a reaction to some of Obama's recent actions, including his willingness to discuss major changes in Social Security and Medicare as part of the debt ceiling negotiations," adds Holland.

Some congressional Democrats appeared to be on the verge of open revolt against their own president Thursday night after hearing some of the details in the $3 trillion plan - a package many of them contend does not do nearly enough to ensure wealthier Americans share in the burden of stemming the tide of Washington's red ink.

Those Democrats are desperately trying to protect some of their party's primary legacies - entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, programs forged at the height of the New Deal and Great Society.

On the other side of the negotiating table, the poll indicates that GOP is also not faring all that well. Fifty-five percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, a seven-point increase since March. The Democratic party's favorable rating is not much better, but it has held steady.

And only 37 percent say the policies of the Republican leaders in Congress would move the country in the right direction - a nine-point drop since the start of the year, when the GOP took over control of the House of Representatives.

"Although most Americans say that Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the GOP, even more say that the Republicans need to cooperate more with the president," says Holland.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on July 18-20, with 1,009 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 story.


Filed under: CNN poll • Debt • Deficit • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    Wow! I am pleasantly surprised. CNN is is finally acknowledging what most everyone has known since this clueless president took office. Surprise, surprise. Now, now, CNN reporters are probably in "BIG" trouble. CNN you should make sure your reporters and Gloria Bolger in particular are aware of this poll.

    July 22, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Ron

    He's doing the things a person does when there is no credible challenger within the party. If he makes a deal without input from dems ih the House and Senate, they will kill his deal and support a challenger.

    July 22, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. JACKSON

    The man has no business being the POTUS, it's all way above his head. He has minions of the same ilk in similar positions. Like cats in bag over a clothesline...all noise, fighting yet nothing gets done. Nothing!! That will be his legacy...the President of Nothing.

    July 22, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. WillH85

    Well after all he's pulled and then goes as far to talk about putting Social Security and Medicare on the table he should be thankful he has any liberals left in his corner. Most of his "supporters" I talk to are nothing more than excuse makers at this point and are too busy defending all of his failures to find something meaningful and good he's done.

    July 22, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Lou50

    how is this possible, did a bunch of fools immigrate out of the country?

    July 22, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. ConservaFASCISTS/Alan West = Masogonist

    Your base is telling you something Mr. President. I hope you're listening.

    July 22, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. aaron in MN

    You know what I'm tired of? Republicans who say Obama is starting class warfare. Really? The wealthy has seen their wealth grown by 125% over the last 3 years. The middle class, stagant. Lower class? Highest poverty rates of all time in this country. 3 million households have $19.65 TRILLION dollars of wealth. If there was a class warfare in this country, who's winning republicans?

    July 22, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Intelligence Advocate

    Nice spin "Looking at the figure another way...1 in 4 think he is not liberal enough". Really? Looking at it the obvious way, 3 of 4 Americans feel he is too liberal. I just love that they spun it towards him not being liberal enough.

    July 22, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. aaron in MN

    You know what I'm tired of? Republicans who say Obama is starting class warfare. Really? The wealthy has seen their wealth grown by 125% over the last 30 years. The middle class, stagant. Lower class? Highest poverty rates of all time in this country. 3 million households have $19.65 TRILLION dollars of wealth. If there was a class warfare in this country, who's winning republicans?

    July 22, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. brako

    who wrote this worthless deceiving article? mossad?

    July 22, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. JB

    Well since Obama care took effect my cost has double from 300.00 a month to 600.00 amonth. Obama and the dems didn't consult much with the republicans last year before they PUSHED through the law. So I really see no reason for republicans to give Obama much now he doesn't have total control of congress. I miss Bush!

    July 22, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. markus

    Not surprised. But if the GOP unseats this guy they had better produce!

    July 22, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. NoCommentCNN

    Maybe it is time for the President to reconsider his support on the failed "War on Drugs"? How many billions could be saved in a deep red ink budget if America would simply re-regulate marijuana? Or does Big Pharma really own our Government?

    July 22, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. jcg

    "Although most Americans say that Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the GOP, even more say that the Republicans need to cooperate more with the president,"

    The only way he can do more to cooperate with them is to wave a white flag. You cannot negotiate with someone who is unwilling to negotiate. Negotiation is a process cooperative of give and take not demand and capitulate.

    July 22, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. ian

    ...but not as much as the t-party, which is destroying the republicans! as a democrat, i would like to personally thank them!

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. onlyfair

    As our econcomy drops, so does NObama's approval rating. Sounds fair to me.

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Crockett

    It's looking good for independent candidates, whether Tea Party, Libertarian, or some other party.

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. J Lee

    We can't keep spending money. End the wars and Trim the Government programs now. No one said we can't negotiate spending on new programs in the future when the economy heals.

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. David

    He has fulled us so bad that I am not supprised its 2% approval now. He wont be a two term president because when he leaves, there wont be a country left.

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Bruce L

    I'm not surprised, and can only figure that he will do ever more poorly with his base - this man is headed toward a one-term presidency, because he's making the mistake of taking his base for granted. I won't be voting for him next year - I may not bother voting for the presidency, but whatever I do it won't be to put him back in office.

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Ari

    8 years of economic bloodshed under Bush – TRILLIONS of $$$ bled out of the economy for wars and complete derregulation of the financial sector leading to the worst financial disaster since the great depression – (remember it took 20 years for the indexes to recover to their 1929 levels). And all the simpletons (liberal and conservative) expect a magical turn around, without any changes in behavior (no taxes, no re-regulation).

    July 22, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. John

    Yes we can – outsource our way to prosperity and tax our way to riches. Yes we can have Millions of Finance people and 1000s of Engineers – Bean counters create products and prosperity.

    Babble-on Obama

    July 22, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. kkw

    Conducted with who? Are these polls conducted with Americans? Why is this an "international" poll? I think if you ask these questions to U.S. citizens, your polls would show different results. But of course, that's not in the agenda, huh?

    July 22, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Irene Miscione

    I really think we liberals need to rethink this. If this man were to lose and the republicans would be back in charge...what would you gain? Today I heard a gay activist saying that Obama needs to be defeated because in essence he didn't do enough. Seriously? How long do you think gay marriage laws would stay in existance with a republican in charge? What about a woman's right to choise? The anti immigration laws, the attacks on union rights? Right now this man is the only adult in the room. He never promised that progressive change would happen overnight. I for one am thankful for the progress we have made and believe the only way more can be accomplished is through a democratic president and congress. Have we not learned our lessons from the election of 2010. I suggest you ask the people of Ohio, Wisconsin, etc. who now have to claw their way back from republican "rule". If you believe that the republicans will fight for middle class America better than Obama and the democratis, then honestly you deserve what happens when they take charge.
    Remember it was the dems who balance budgets, get us out of wars and work for the middle class, the elderly and the poor. As evidenced by the state of our republican leadership, this trend continues. . .

    July 22, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. wisiconsin101

    Shows how divided this country is becoming. The left is going lefter and the right is going righter. The sanity lies in the middle but that group unfortunately is becoming rarer

    July 22, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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