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. ablecynic

    Hmmm .. a CNN poll that shows that their favorite candidate is doing better at the expense of those awful people that CNN hates (the Republicans, Americans, soldiers, and Tea Party members.) I'll bet this had a really carefully selected sample! Given that Rasmussen Polls show Obama's "bounce" after his speech starting to fade, I find the timing of this poll "interesting" to say the least. We shall see.

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. larry

    Folks this is a CNN poll. What would you expect?

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. tmmt

    They say that the Republicans stand for the rich and the Democrats stand for the poor. If that is the case, in order to secure enough votes to keep getting re-electd, each party has to make more of who they stand for. Vote for whichever "class" you want to be in.

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. joyce

    He will be re-elected. The Republicans do not have anyone of substance for the GOP bid. Congress is a disgrace and they all need to be voted out of office.

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Old Dave

    Just another fixed poll. I become less and less impressed by CNN as time goes on.

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Average_JoeMN

    Why don't I believe this? Oh, CNN did the "poll".

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Kiley

    Talked about biased reporting... love this line "while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale"... but if you read the full report there are only two income options, below $50K or above $50K. Just a wee bit broad to make such a loaded statement. But a polling director should be good at steering the discussion... Sheesh. If this kind of spin doesn't insult your intelligence, you should slap your teacher.

    December 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    Drudge says Obama will lose????? hahaha ...... so does fox TV, Russball, insHannity, O'Really, Pat Robertson, the ghost of Jerry Falwell, Turd-blossom, Jimmy Swaggart, and a whole host of other right-wing nut-jobs............why would any thinking person follow those clowns?

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. SiriusVH

    PA_outofwork

    This is CNN pileing BS on top of BS and think Obama will come out smelling like a rose. LMAO! Nothing will help Obama win in 2012. Obama now has the lowest job approval of any president and we recognize that fact, the 2012 election is going to be a massacre for Democrats.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I guess, you don't believe too much in education. So, for your information, (1) the lowest job approval numbers have been earned, to date, by Bush 2 (he went below 30), (2) Truman went below 40 before being elected to a 2nd term. You owe me $50 for having taught you something. Credit cards and PayPal accounts are OK.

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Josh

    It says a lot about the state of American politics and the American public that a train wreck like Obama has a good shot at winning a second term just 8 years after the American public incomprehensibly elected Bush II to a second term.

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Dan G.

    You can trust a CNN or NBC poll as much as you can trust Iran about not building a nuclear bomb. CNN/NBC no how to ask a question to get the results they want and have a habit of over polling Democrats.

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. MT

    it's a shame that some one who was born here and should have some kind of history knowledge can make a statement like
    that... when for the last 200 plus years all Presidents have taken vacations and the expenses are included on the white house
    budget but than again I am a proud immigrant whos brother served on the gulf war and decided to become a US citizen the only thing the GOP cares about is winning even if it means destroying the entire country .... OBAMA for 2012 God Bless the USA

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Al

    The only way his poll numbers would actually go up is if he's going to give away more tax payer money. For his actions have not made the US stronger or independent. On the contrary his actions and laws have allowed government to have stronger control over the people it's supposed to serve.

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Logic in LA

    Our frustration is finally showing up where it should – against Congress. they think thye have the final say. Come November 2012, they will find out who has that final say.

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. joeamerican1

    Progressives and leftists were the only people (if you can call them people) voting in Obowma's poll...................

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Parker

    Obama and all of his government dependants (workers, crony capitalists and welfare mooches), will run the country into the ground spending trillions we don't have – just like Greece.

    Selfish fools.

    You could take all income away from the rich and it wouldn't cover 1/4 of Obama's outrageous deficit spending.

    To heck with our children and grand children. Just hand out the big fat government check to MEEEEEEEEE!

    December 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. SenorCoughee

    I read this and thought....seriously? People seriously think this idiot is doing a good job? Granted, the choice isn't much better on the GOP side, but come on. Have we really become that ignorant as a society to think this divisive fool has done anything noteworthy?

    December 20, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Dan G.

    CORRECTED COPY – You can trust a CNN or NBC poll as much as you can trust Iran about not building a nuclear bomb. CNN/NBC know how to ask a question to get the results they want and have a habit of over polling Democrats.

    December 20, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Scot

    After the teabaggers totally screw up our country AGAIN with this tax relief for the middle class it should be clear that he is heads above this republican mintority and their stupid games. He should be gaining in the polls.

    December 20, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. DG11

    Surely 50 % of this country are that STUPID!

    December 20, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. fel121

    PA_outofwork,

    Are you out of work because of Obama or because you decide education for for Godless fools and you went to work as a blue collar scrub and your GOP friends shipped your jobs to Mexico and India?

    I fear for what people like you and the rest of the uneducated angry white men will do to this society when this ni66er gets re-elected, and he will be re-elected if anyone but Mitt Romney gets the nod from your collection of circus clowns.

    December 20, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. mfhpr

    To Mr. or Mrs. Truth and Nothing But the Truth:

    How ignorant can one be. Well, let's just point out one area so not to come down on thee too hard:

    Getting the "evil" rich people means getting himself. Yes, if you've listened, Obama has consistently included himself when speaking of fairly taxing those that are gaining unprecedented wealth while the middle class spirals downward. Only a brainwashed fool would believe otherwise. Wake up, brainwashed fool! You're part of the problem!

    December 20, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. jim

    @Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    1) Your name doesn't match your writting
    2) You post an awful lot on these forums. Perhaps you should do something else, like get a job

    December 20, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. fred astaire

    proof positive if you have the money, you can create any poll results you want.

    December 20, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Eli

    And yet the most respected and accurate of all polling data (Gallup's Daily Presidential Tracking Poll) indicates that as of today at 1:00 p.m. EST 43% approve of the job he is doing as president and 50% disapprove.

    Polling data developed by staffers at the Washington Post, ABC, NBC and CNN is as objective as the news they report. Don't believe the BS. Obama is a failure of a president and the majority of likely voters know it.

    December 20, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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