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. Vigla

    Come election time, these folks will vote for Obama. So while they have an unfavorable view, they will not go and vote for the other guy. So this is misleading. Once this crisis passes, the numbers will go back up. This is more than typical. I am not happy either, but will I vote for the likes of Romney or another clown from Texas? Never! My vote will go to Obama.

    July 22, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. SIN

    Good this is what I like to see in the news! Lets finish the job and get him out of office.

    July 22, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. WVLady63

    And some people actually wonder why??? He had NO experience what-so-ever when he ran, he hasn't garnered any since he has been in the White House. What makes anybody with an iota of sense think he can run this country? He has plunged us into the biggest deficit in U. S. History and he wants to add to it via the backs of American Taxpayers. If this idiot isn't voted out of office, we will all be standing in bread lines because we will be in the "Greatest Depression," not the Great Depression. So, if any of you vote for him, let me thank you now for additing to our woes that are compliments of this idiot.

    July 22, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Rick

    Thats great news..Its about time people wise up and see Obama doesnt have what it takes to run America. And Obama isnt the only one that needs kicked out of office. Theres plenty more where that came from Both sides Republicans and Democrates that dont get it.

    July 22, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. V. P.

    While the American people are disapproving of "President" Obama, I hope that they are at least smart enough to see how hard he has to fight to get anything done. I may not agree with everything he does, but, some respect and understanding are due. I read some of the comments on various sites when there is an article on our President and or the First Lady and some of them are beyond racist, very disrespectful and just nasty. Get a grip America, let's start supporting President Obama and if you can't do that then stop being so ugly against the man!!!!!!! Thank you

    July 22, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. gordon atl

    Not surprising. It's amazing how pliable people's minds are though.

    July 22, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. California Conservative

    This isn't surprising at all. It's actually expected.

    July 22, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Juan

    In other news: The Sun is hot!

    July 22, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. paul

    The president has a tough job. Every decision ticks off half the people much like an official in a tight game. For you liberals that are upset that he doesn't go left far enough, consider the alternative. What do you think will happen if more tea party members are elected. Push for your ideas, but don't let more Republicans get elected (unless you are rich).

    July 22, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. AbeFroman

    "President Barack Obama's approval rating is down to 45 percent..." ...and should go much, much lower.

    July 22, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Bruce

    Liberals...you had better wake up. You need to take a look at what's happening across the country and get back in line. You won't be able to ask any Dem to rescue the country in 2016 because we wont have one after the Repugs get through...look at what they did in the 6 years they had the country during the 2000s. Just think about what another 4 years of that bunch could do to the country. Far worst that a few cuts some social programs here and there...that's for sure.

    July 22, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. E G30

    I can't wait to see how 2012 goes. This is our fault. We voted the GOP into the house and and every other part of the government and all we have seen job loss, Medicare plots and union busting. They don't have our best interest at heart. Look around. Every state they control is suffering more in 2011 than in 2010. That's why Wisconsin is having recall elections.
    As for the dems, if they weren't such a weak bunch they would killing the GOP. And if the prez wasn't busy trying to make everybody happy the dems and the people wouldn't be turning on him. If he doesn't have the support of the people on the left he has nothing. He shouldnt even be talking about Medicare or SS. He has the ball in his court he's dribbling the clock out. If he fails to be reelected we are toast. With these tea party people in charge we will suffer like Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The proof is in the pudding.

    July 22, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Not a Liberal

    Consider myself a middle of the road Democrat....but I believe in Social Security and Medicare....history shows that we need it..If Obama and the Democrats in Congress allow these tea party radicals to change that...they'll never get my vote again...some times you have to stand your ground and let the voters decide...Americans are smart enough to figure out who's at fault if things blow up and the debt ceiling isn't raised.

    July 22, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. maikl

    the worse president ever. I wait when he take another vacation or play golf.

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. n8Dog

    Bush makes a mess, and Obama is tasked with the clean up – 3 steps back, 1 step forward – Thanks you moron!

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Meki60

    I'm very surprised that CNN would post this. So far, they have been nothing more than an ad agency for BO. It must be serious.

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Kevin

    I'd rather see him in office than a republican.

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Jay

    opinion polls are funny

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Breeze

    So tired of politicians acting as if this is THEIR country and the rest of US americans are just visitors.

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Joe

    Obama going down even in a CNN poll??? THis cant be good for him..

    Here is an idea for him.. BLAME BUSH!!!!haha Stupid liberals

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Steve

    I'm a liberal, let's see 2 wars at 300 billion a year, 1.6 trillion in bailouts and stimulus, and you want to agree with the republicans to cut my Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to pay for it all???? (how bout cutting congress' pensions in the "shared sacrifice") You honestly wonder why Democrats aren't happy with him? Republican fiscal policy truly represents the interests of about 2% of the country but for cryin out loud at least they have a spine.

    Go ahead, screw your base, I hope you've enjoyed the 1 term because that's all you'll get.

    July 22, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Eric

    Oddly the people who benefit the most from medicare are the same people who tend to vote Republican. Seems to me that congressional republicans are dancing on the third rail of politics. How could they be so dumb?

    July 22, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. shawnjanika

    Liberals (myself included) – The tea party is kicking our butts and Obama has adjusted to meet the new political realities. If we want to change things we need to change the discussion through a change in our elected officials. Maybe we shouldn't have sat out the 2010 elections that swept the tea party into power, eh?

    July 22, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. arch

    I hope the fools that elected this bimbo finally realize that he doesn't know what the heck he is doing. This should be a wake up call for those that voted for him. They should do a little more investigating into who they want to represent them! He is set for life now. Let him have all his perks and let's get the idiot out of office before he takes up further down!

    July 22, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. Retired Army in San Antonio

    "....13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough...."

    But at the end of the day, Liberals WILL STILL vote for Obama.....ANYWAY......, particularly if the alternative is Michelle Bachman or Rick Perry.

    In other words......"lets move along folks; nothing to see here"......

    July 22, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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