CNN Poll: President's approval nearing 50%
December 20th, 2011
12:02 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: President's approval nearing 50%

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating, a crucial indicator of his reelection chances, is on the rise, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll out Tuesday also indicates that the partisan battle over extending the payroll tax cut may be partially responsible for the jump in the president's numbers.

Full results (pdf)

According to the survey, 49% of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing in the White House, up five points from last month, with 48% saying they disapprove, down six points from mid-November. The 49% approval rating is the president's highest since May, when his number hit 54% thanks to a bounce following the killing of Osama bin Laden. Since then, in CNN polling, Obama's approval rating has hovered in the mid-40s.

"President Barack Obama's approval rating appears to be fueled by dramatic gains among middle-income Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The data suggest that the debate over the payroll tax is helping Obama's efforts to portray himself as the defender of the middle class."

Obama's gains have come at the expense of the Republicans in Congress and the GOP in general. By a 50% to 31% margin, people questioned say they have more confidence in the president than in congressional Republicans to handle the major issues facing the country. Obama held a much narrower 44% to 39% margin in March.

And the GOP's overall favorable rating has dropped to six points, to 43%, since June, while the Democrats' positive rating remained steady at 55%.

"The Democrats do particularly well among middle income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale," adds Holland.

Overall, only 16% say they approve of the job Congress is doing, with 83% giving lawmakers from both parties the thumbs down. The Congressional disapproval rating has topped 80% since August in CNN polling.

The survey indicates that Obama remains personally popular, with three-quarters saying they approve of him as a person.

"Overall, it's not a bad position for an incumbent to be in as the calendar turns to an election year, but there are many months to go," says Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, with 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.


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soundoff (492 Responses)
  1. Marc

    Curious how they don't have a break down of party affiliation in the poll. Also this is not a poll of likely voters which makes it flawed.

    December 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. ritas725

    Worse president EVER. Poverty's up, house value's down, gas way up, class warfare way up, debt up...someone tell me what Obama has done good?

    December 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Hedley Lamar

    If this is true and he gets re-elected, I will no longer care what happens to the US as the country is lost. However, the poverty and misery he will inflict on America will be truly staggering.

    December 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. SenorCoughee

    UnAmerican, 'tard, socialists, neocon, loons, teabaggers, crazies, Republitards......all terms used by the ignorant to rationalize their stupidity.

    December 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. JWnCA

    The election is starting in earnest–the push-polling is sure starting early this round. I have no doubt that no matter who the Republican candidate is, Obama is toast. He and the Dems will lose in another landslide just like 2010.

    December 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Don

    Thanks Mr. President. Bin Laden = dead... Khadaffi = dead... Kim Il Jung = Dead. Thanks Mr. President.

    December 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Eddy

    Obama's numbers rising??? ARE YOU FOR REAL? ...out of 23 dems here in our class, TWO would vote for him again, JUST TWO!!! Sorry, he had his chance and screwed it royally by aligning himself with some wacko people... I wanted to fix the economy, not to dish out loans to his pals... Obama is out!!! Where's Hillary ???

    December 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. WDinDallas

    Whwrw? North Korea?

    December 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. craig gotham

    The usual crock of liberal nonsense from CNN.

    December 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Fred Williams

    I don't believe it at all. Nobody that has decided to not vote for odumba all of a sudden said "he's doing such a great job and they way him an moochelle always take to jets, crews, protection, etc. really makes me appreciate them". Just more cnn trying to prop up the boy idiot!

    December 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. REPUBLICANS LIE

    The more the stupid Republicans scream their vile unAmerican hatred, the more the American people are learning to despise them.

    December 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Post American

    @Freddy if you only blame Obama for Unemployment, homeless, foreclosures you are living in an echo chamber. I'm not a liberal, but there is plenty of blame to spread around. From Obama, to Republicans, to Democrats, and President Bush who collapsed the U.S. Economy. If you really want to know who to blame, look in a mirror! The American people are cowards, and will not take the tough steps like cutting spending and raising taxes. Turn off the talk radio dood.

    December 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Granger

    Posted on CNN – lacks credibility....propaganda medium for Obama....

    December 20, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Chris

    I'm sure the state sponsored media is pleased at any good news to keep themselves and Obama in power. Obama is a man created in propaganda but in reality we are not allowed to know anything about him. We are only told how smart he is but we can't see his grades or college records. The brainwashing continues. This will all end badly.

    December 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Allah_Speaking

    "The data suggest that the debate over the payroll tax is helping Obama's efforts to portray himself as the defender of the middle class."
    This statement is downright laughable. (If one actually bothers to calculate over how much more money gets with this reduced payroll tax...) Of course one should take note that your FICA tax has always increased year after year.

    December 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Nobama Noway

    P.S. I suggest you check out the Rasmussen daily tracking poll-now THAT is truth! The gap between strongly approve (~20%) and strongly disapprove (40+%) is -18. CNN, you need to quit polling your employees!

    December 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Keith Greene

    I read the CNN PDF, non whites and a scant majority of women push the poll although the number of parties polled tells the real tale....... AS USUAL!!!! LMFAO!

    December 20, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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