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. Fat_Jeff

    Thanks OK no matter how low his numbers drop he will still win re-election.

    July 22, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. lindaglenn

    so the liberal did not get it their way so they turn their back on Obama. that is called back stabbing!

    July 22, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    I'm not super happy with him, but he still has my support. I cannot imagine voting Republican. Those people seem to hate - or at least not care about - anyone but other rich folks. Obama/Biden 2012!

    July 22, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Ohioan with no Job

    Imagine that..

    July 22, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    BTW, didn't we just see an article on CNN this week providing an analysis of Obama's approval rating and polling data that said he's "kevlar" and that it's simply amazing that he's never, not even now, dipped down toward or into the 30% range? Here's a hint, CNN: "fair and balanced," aside from just being Faux Noise "we said we are so it must be so" propaganda, does not mean "publish a story one day that has one spin and then publish a story the next day that has the completely opposite spin...that way everyone is happy."

    July 22, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. greg

    well its no wonder for once do what you say....tax the rich and cut entitlements.......

    July 22, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. womenfly

    Good to hear the libs are finally catching on to this impostor-in-chief... out with BO November 2012!!!

    July 22, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    The middle left has your back, Prez. No worries.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    July 22, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. anon

    I'm not an Obama supporter by ANY stretch, but I kind of feel for the guy. He was put up on a pedestal early on of almost godlike status that no human being can be expected to live up too. I remember during the campaigns how his supporters acted and it got ridiculous. At times, it bordered on neurotic, and was a little scary.

    I doubt he wins another term. I heard once that the moment a presidents approval ratings drop below 46, then they are done for. Besides, he did what he was put in office by the insurance companies to do: He was paid off to pad their wallets even more, by making it mandatory that EVERYONE purchase health insurance.

    July 22, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Independent In Albany

    The far left is just as dangerous as the far right. Elections are won in the center, and that is exactly the group of voters the GOP is driving away in masses

    July 22, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. paulr50

    Good. More people are seeing the light, or rather the dim light of this president. This guy is a bigger disaster than Jimmy Carter could ever be, even if he tried. Bye bye Barry in 2012.

    July 22, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Richie

    Thanks Captain Obviuos!

    July 22, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Rickster

    The fact that President Failure has ANY support just goes to show how many loons we have amongst us. By the way, now that the Senate has voted down yet another republican plan to save the economy(cut, cap & balance) let's have a vote on Obama's plan.....oh wait, Obama hasn't offered a plan. Epic Failure.

    July 22, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Mike in KC

    Not happy Liberals? Okay, in November 2012 stay home and don't vote and let the GOP have the White House back. Would that make you happy? Stop your whining.

    July 22, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Hot Dog

    How could any President's approval rating be on the up tick when we have this grand partisan divide that currently exist in Congress. Then you have the majority leader of the Republican party state that he is going to do all he can to make this President serve one term. This by all means is stupid and it does not serve the best interest of the country. Political comprimise benefits all Americans irregardless of the issue.

    July 22, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. MTATL67

    The man has bent over backwards to work with the GOP. He even said he would take the political hits to get it done. Did Boehner say that or was in the corner to scared of the Tea Bagger extremist group? Did Cantor say the same thing or was he out the door to fast to say anything at all? Did McConnell say he would take the political hits or is he so entrenched with "Not while this president's in office". We need to wake up our Congressmen are spending our tax money faster than you think and they love to blame it on the other guy. I was floored when I started researching how much money Congress spends. I email my Congressmen twice a week just saying something simple as “Don’t spend our tax dollars on pet pork projects, we can’t afford them”. Everyone should be watching their Rep and Sen. and holding them accountable.

    July 22, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. O

    "Roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he's not been liberal enough"
    A lot of people see the cause of their problems in the wrong wealth redistribution. Bad news – there is never enough money to make everyone happy even if you confiscate verything the top 5% have.
    A better way to look at things is to see our country competing with others where the most efficient most productive wins. This perspective vividly demonstrates the harm of various subsidies, unions, and other unnecessary giveaways.

    July 22, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. george

    the big 0 is trickier than dick

    July 22, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. 11:11

    Just another false prophet reaping what he has sown.

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Angie France

    Yeah, that's what it is, the liberals being dissatisfied. Whatever you say lol!

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Tony in Maine

    Liberals believed the Republican demagoguery about Obama being somewhere to the left of Karl Marx and are disappointed that he will give away the whole store to build some sort of consensus. Republicans, for their part, figured Obama out long ago. The goal posts have been moved to the right 372 times since January 2009. Even the more moderate Republicans are enjoying yanking the President to the right.

    Bernie Sanders – will you run for President – please.

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. NuwanSam

    This liberalism and conservatism are tearing this country apart. It makes us more polorize. It has gone too extream. At this point we need to come to the center, be pragmatic and do things that make common sense that help to rebuild this country. America is in cross-roads in great danger of a dramatic collapse due to this stuborn and ridgid ideological stands taken by both these extreams. I give credit to the President to trying to come to the center at the expense of the support from his side. That is leadership for me. This is the time everyone need to make hard decisions, be ready for shared sacrifice. Not merely to go to the corner and hold grounds protecting ideology. I do not agree with how President handles everything. I criticise him for certain thing he does. But compared to others in Washington, he is trying to make things work even if he has to become unpopular with his base. Now compare that to a republican president like G. Bush ? I feel better he is in the white house compared to anyone else looking to go there.

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. lynn

    Once again, who does CNN poll, certainly not our home. But if they did, I would say Obama is being too soft, not putting the total blame for the fiscal mess squarely on the Tea Party. They have hijacked our political system, we need to find out who is behind their organization with piles of cash to buy the White House.

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Ronbo42

    The thing is all of the people that disapprove of the president because he is not liberal enough are going to vote for him. Otherwise they are going to get someone like Sara, Michelle or Rick as the next president.

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Oregon Calling

    This should not come as a surprise. But what we need to remember is that he represents the WHOLE UNITED STATES.

    He does not just represent those that think that caring for those that are less fortunate is so awful and only the wealthy (in $$) should be represented by Congress. Besides, only the $$ has any place at the table if you go by the VOTING RECORDS of those in Congress.

    I just wish that people still cared about their neighbor.

    Peace :-)

    July 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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