CNN Poll: Obama ranks low among recent incumbents
November 15th, 2011
12:07 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama ranks low among recent incumbents

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's overall approval rating remains in the mid-40s, where it has been since July, and he continues to receive much higher marks for foreign policy than for domestic issues, according to a new national survey out one year before he is up for re-election.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday indicates that 52% of all Americans approve of how the president is handling the situation in Iraq, an indication that Americans tend to favor Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from that country by year's end. Forty-eight percent of those questioned approve of how he is handling the war in Afghanistan. By contrast, only 35% have a positive view of his economic track record, and just 38% approve of how he is handling health care policy.

Full results (pdf)

It all adds up to an overall 46% approval rating for the president, with 52% saying they disapprove of how Obama is handling his job in the White House.

"That's par for the course for Obama, whose overall approval rating has been hovering in the mid 40s in every CNN poll conducted since June," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

In comparison to recent incumbents running for re-election, Obama's 46% approval ranks above only Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford - who both lost their re-election bids - in November of the year before an election. Most incumbents who were re-elected had an approval rating above 50% a year before the election. But George W. Bush, at 50%, and Richard Nixon, at 49%, also won re-election, and Bush's father George H.W. Bush had a 56% approval rating yet lost to Bill Clinton the following year.

"Translation: while the approval rating is an important indicator of a president's strength, it is not a foolproof predictor of election results," Holland said.

See how Obama's number stack up.

The poll indicates that the standard partisan divide over the president remains, with three-quarters of Democrats giving Obama a thumbs up but only 15% of Republicans approving of the job he's doing in office. By a 54%-42% margin, independent voters disapprove of how the president's handling his duties.

Women are divided on how Obama's performing, but men disapprove by a 55%-43% margin. White Americans give Obama a thumbs down by a 61%-36% margin, with non-white Americans give the president a thumbs up by a more than 2-1 margin.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 11-13, with 1,036 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.

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soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. webspy

    Well i teach the children America is racist compared to a lot of countries

    November 15, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    mike proctor

    Question to TwM-HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE TO FILL THE GRAND CANYON ?? this is the hole that Bush/republicans left behind for President Obama to fill. Also do you work 24/7-the President does,so drop the BS about him wasting time on vacation you republicans/tea-baggers are beating a dead horse on that subjest. The health care reform bill have help my grandson because he was born with a medical problem and the insurance companies call it pre-exitence condition and he was not able to get health insurance,but now under this new bill he is cover. The problem with the American people(white) in reference to this President ,he will never be worth a damn in their eyes but to the rest world he has done a good job with what he has to work with. Also now here the big one!!! who in the hell in they right mind would vote for the sorry ass republicans/tea-baggers running against him in 2012.
    -----------------------–
    HEAR! HEAR!!
    Bravo Mike.

    November 15, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. cony 007

    check this out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q&feature=email The so called american dream.

    November 15, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Sam

    Obama don't deserve a second term and no different then that people he talk about playing politics. He in with the big bad corporation behind the scenes and very corrupt.

    November 15, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Jaun in El Paso

    35% economy approval! He's got about nine months to get that up or he'll loss the White House. Any more problems with the economy or if the auto-triggers go into effect he will never recover. His leadership is the reason this whole debt crissess is being streached out and the economy faultering. If he was a good leader the consumer would be confident and the market would not swing wildly.

    November 15, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Jaun in El Paso

    35% economy approval! He's got about nine months to get that up or he'll loss the White House. Any more problems with the economy or if the auto-triggers go into effect he will never recover.

    November 15, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. jj

    Thank God President Obama is the responsible adult in the room taking rational, measured steps to methodically treat all the problems that "W"'s idi*cy and mismanagement left us with. Hopefully in his second term, President Obama will be better able to implement his vision of hope and change.

    November 15, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Wired

    This happens when you poll trailer parks.

    November 15, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If you are black, you are the dumbest black I've ever heard of. If I were you, I'd stick to the emotion because at least your heart was once fuller than your skull is now.
    ------------------------
    You kept throwing that line in the water hoping to get a bite Debbie, now see what you caught? An old fashioned tongue lashing.
    Next!
    lol

    November 15, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Funnyman

    George W's job approval was in the upper 40ies in 2004 when he got re-elected.

    Only at 25% at the lowest and average of 49% for his 8 years in office!

    November 15, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Positive

    A lot of us have paid attention. We've seen the GOP play party and politics to the detriment of ecnonomic recovery. We watched their inability to work as adults in the debt ceiling crisis that they created that destabilized the market and cost us our AAA rating. We've seen that their plans will put more burden on the poor and middle class. We see them wanting to turn the taxpayer money in SS and Medicare over to private CEOs. We've seen them touting the same old trickle-down, deregulate nonsense that got us inthe mess and only helps increase the income gap as if it's some kind of solution.

    Do they really think we aren't paying attention or do they really think they can play us with that nonsense again?

    November 15, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. FLIndependent

    "We have gone global people-no replubican can control or fix this situation we are in.Especially a republican-controlled Senate hellbent on self-destruction."

    ______________________________
    EXACTLY!! All of you hanging your hat on an alternative to Obama are delusional. We need this President as he is wordly and understands we are no longer the leader in the world and need to assimilate globally or else we are doomed.

    November 15, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Enigma

    I'll take Obama again considering the carnival sideshow that is playing over in the republican tent.

    November 15, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. DC

    Why would Obama give a hoot? Even if he's a one-termer, he'll write books that will make him millions of $$$, go lecture at universities and foundations for more $$$, and serve on corporate or IGO boards to make even more $$$. He'll get his cushy presidential pension after just 4 years of running the economy into the ground, and the world will keep burning. Isn't that how this game has always been played by the top 1%?

    November 15, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Terry

    CNN is a part of the Obama re-election campaign. Take their poll approval numbers on Obama and Dims, subtract 10-15%, and you will get some real world accuracy.

    November 15, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Dean

    46 % approval---That's about the same as the percentage of people who live off the government teat.

    November 15, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. kayla

    cain the insane

    November 15, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Kevin

    So anyone who says that the country is worse off than 2008... ask them how? Are we still bleeding jobs like crazy? NO, twenty months of job growth. Are banks still failing? NO. Is Osama still in a cave? NO, actually watery grave. Is Obama still working on jobs and helping people who need help? YES. Now what is your conservative house (who stops any legislation from reaching obama desk) doing? Running their mouths. 2012 will be a easy choice once people pay attention and quit saying whatever comes next.

    November 15, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. John Herzog

    MSNBC (far left)attacks conservatives and Fox News (far right) spins all news to a position that attacks Obama. It is nice to have CNN to at least have a network that is completely (almost) unbased.

    November 15, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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