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. Citizen

    It's one thing when Dems have a low approval of GOP as the article states. It's quite another when Dems have a low approval of their own. Dres the article any way you wish, Obama is in trouble politically. I predicted it from the start. Once the teat runs dry his own would be his worst enemies.

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

    It's Obama's fault.

    July 22, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. lgpony

    This survey is stupid because it does not reflect the view of america. It send to be the surveior opinion and not the public.
    The problem is greed from the people who in charge. They are of no value to this situation, and talk about experience they have none.

    July 22, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Probably a poll created by a nut sucking, teabagging republican. Seriously CNN you guys are officially on my enemies list.

    July 22, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. A real American

    Well, let's see,
    Got congress to pass the republican healthcare plan from 1994
    The only banksters who went to jail were the ones who ripped off other rich people
    Escalated Afghanistan and is currently droning "suspected terrorists" in who knows how many other countries
    Refused to investigate torture
    Deported more illegals in 3 years than Bush did in 8
    Passed toothless financial reform
    Extended Bush tax cuts
    Signed off on payroll tax cut that partially defunds social security

    Socialist? Obama's not even a liberal. Welcome to Reagan's 8th term. The American middle class is getting exactly what it deserves for electing corporatists for 30 years.

    July 22, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down
    So what would supporters do in 2012 ??? Vote for RIGHT candidate clowns?
    I am a Democrat and voted for President Obama in 2008
    I will continue to support him in 2012 as he brings us to the home plate

    It’s ridiculous and not that difficult for anyone to understand
    The “CUT the CRAP it’s not BALANCED Bill” from the right is their plan
    Liberals should know it’s going to take reform in ALL entitlements
    Just like TAX BREAKS for the RICH should not be an argument

    Come on DEMOs – you need to stick together and form a force – come up with a REASONABLE plan that will work – you know doggone well you have to touch entitlements and your constituents should be convinced to understand!!!

    July 22, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Enough is Enough

    The article did not state which of his core supporters are unhappy was it the trial lawyers, union thugs, people on welfare, or the illegals.

    July 22, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. A real American

    And that's just off the top of my head...

    July 22, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. elobogrande

    Make their states raise their land taxes, cut health care, cut veterans care, cut education, but don't touch the corporations that fill politicians coffers...don't cut politicians pay or touch their retirement and health care plans. Stupid people will never guess that it is a class war going on. They can't see the Winabaggos and yachts or the different economy for "us and them".

    July 22, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Vijay

    The shock treatment to handle the long term budget crisis, championed by the Tea Party and led by Paul Ryan will undoubtedly cause misery in the country, if implemented on a crash basis. But we have to accept that the status quo on entitlements cannot continue much longer. The Tea Party has brought a much needed focus on this issue if in an admant and cruel way. Is there no way that the two parties can work out a way together that will adress the issue? Obama ater a long time has jumped into the discussions, which is gratifying. Let's hope that common sense and compassions reins both parties.

    July 22, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. idb

    The man is clueless. He has no idea what to do, he surrounded himself with poor advisers and is now in trouble. He needs to be replaced by someone competent as soon as possible before her ruins the country even more.

    July 22, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. AmericanMiddleMan

    Still say that the Republicans are protecting the wealthy in an effort to keep their phony baloney jobs. The middle class is known to support the US economy. That class is shrinking. This problem is not due to Medicare, or any social support. It is the efforts of the Corporations to increase revenue to increase stock options and bonus dollars until the bailout happily protected by the GOP and teabaggers. Taxes are paid through, cigarettes, alcohol, car tax, gas tax, rentals, vacations, phones, and anything you see in the stores and not by a small group of Richies. I know that corporations who are given tax credits are pocketing this money and still outsourcing American work to increase revenue. Yet people blame someone who has taken the job on the worse part of our history. You think anyone else could have an amazing story to tell as president when we were in the biggest recession?

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

    That's all well and fine but who else do liberals have to vote for, Ron Paul?

    July 22, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. warforprofit

    1,009 people? Really? Out of how many? 400,000,000? Give or take 50 million. This isn't even a grain of salt, this is like an atom of sodium in a molecule of salt.

    July 22, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Chip Anderson

    It is a dearth of action that has undermined the Democratic Party. Allowing the GOP to define the political debate and obfuscate the issues without Democratic leaders standing up for themselves has been a major problem for years. The Working Class Americans pay with every hour of work into Social Security and Medicare...it is not an entitlement. These programs are funded outside of taxes. To use them as a tool in deficit reduction is paramount to theft and at the very least tax increases upon the middle and lower tax brackets, who pay for these programs exclusivly. Where is this point of contention in Democratic responses to the GOP onslaught? Equality of the American People is a paramount tenent of our Constitution and Culture, something that we have worked hard to achieve and come closer to over our history. Over the past 30 years the economic warfare conducted against the working class of Americans has reduced the majority of Americans to indentured servents from birth. The Democratic Party needs to defend the welfare of those it's platform define as it's constituants, that is why they are elected. As a former Marine I am very disturbed by the actions of the GOP, and inaction by the Dems's, to protect the citizens of this country. The new millenial silent majority must take back the reigns of our governance before we find ourselves tied to those reigns like surfs existing for the whims of service to our wealthy and corporate lords. God Bless America and it's People who work to make it great.

    July 22, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. chapalody

    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. Looking at that figure in no represents Conservatives and Republicans. Your one in four is the left who feels that way. Stating one in four Americans is misleading because you want the people to believe that the Republicans and Conservatives think Obama has not been liberal enough. Your talking about the left and the correct statement is one in four on the left who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he's not been liberal enough. Let's get it right shall we.

    July 22, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Dean

    Liberals are just a little slower to grasp the obvious.

    July 22, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. obama victim

    man....we are going to miss this guy...................NOT

    July 22, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. TRouble

    I think the reality is that this President's policies are failing America. This is sinking in with the American people helped by seeing several countries across the pond in BIG trouble. We clearly cannot continue down the spending path the President chose his first two years in office. He has offered NO solutions for curbing the debt crisis HE has contributed to and his budget was dismissed 96-0 (or so?). His support during the last election cycle has clearly evaporated as has the "hope and change" message. He has lost all credibility. And as intelligent and well spoken as he is, he has lacked leadership and decisiveness.

    July 22, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Yikes!

    That means he's doing his job! There are no winners here unless the budget is cut, revenues are raised and the debt ceiling is raised. It takes a bigger person to do what is needed. Standing up to your friends is much harder than standing up to your enemies.

    I support our President on this one!

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

    The alternative is not better Liberals Knuckle heads. Just see what happened in wisconsin where some democrats and Union members voted for the current Governor. Glad it turned out ok. NOT. Right now you liberals are crying tears, with Bachman or Romney or even Perry, you will be crying blood. Pick your own poison and Stop the whinning.

    July 22, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. S. In California - Obama 2012

    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;

    Don't get too happy haters. For this too shall pass.

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

    Since it's a CNN survey President Obama must be down to about 35%.

    July 22, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. CandyBee

    OK, I hear you, "left liberals." As a strong Obama supporter, I have a hard time with the weaklings who are dissatisfied that not enough has been done to meet our social goals, etc., but I hear you. The problem is that there is nobody who is going to get further along the path than Obama has gotten with the right wing in control of the house. I believe Obama will want to go further toward the goals we had when we elected him, but he is going to have to have the support of congress. Right now he is a big huge target and the liberals who are losing their "hope" are not helping. Just exactly WHO would you support that would get further than Obama? It can only go downhill from here. Get out and work to elect people who share your liberal beliefs! Or don't. See what that gets.

    July 22, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. Bill

    Who cares? He has already started campaigning. By the time the election comes around it will be the same fear-mongering on both sides and everybody will vote against the "evil other side."

    sheep.

    Vote 3rd party to FORCE the change Obama promised then failed to deliver.

    July 22, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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