CNN Poll: President's approval nearing 50%
December 20th, 2011
12:02 PM ET
2 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. rob feero

    are these the same people that count our un-employed.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Franky

    I can't believe so many middle class American's here are complaining about getting a tax cut? So, if you are rich you should get one and you as an average joe defend it, but if you are middle class you shouldn't give yourself one? I honestly, I don't at all understand how some of you think, I try, I really do, but I don't get it.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    It's simple really: What incentive do the GOPers/Teatrolls have for fixing the deficits, debts and economy when having all of them as a complete mess can be used to jsutify their ideological wishlist of destroying Medicare, SS and various regulatory agencies?

    Hint: The answer is an integer between 1 and -1.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Mason

    Yeah and I saw him on the news last night claiming to be the FOURTH best president ever. He left Washington, and Reagan and a plethora of other GREAT Presidents who he is unfit to carry their luggage. The man is unhinged as is his waning followers. A vote for him would be another leap towards mediocrity and a run towards financial ruin as Greece. Obama is nothing but a plagiarist of the European welfare state.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I polled 10 of my friends who are also democrats and middle income.
    not one will vote for Obama again.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Honest Citizen

    Figures. Coming from CNN there is no surprise.

    THEY LOVE THIS GUY. They lie to keep this guy's numbers up. They call criminals that skulk across our borders with a hundred pounds of cocain strapped to their backs, immigants instead of illegals. They will do ANYTHING to keep this guy in control.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Buck Chuck

    What do you expect from CNN? Tell us about those polled. Oh wait, that would discredit your story. Your numbers are inconsistent with every other poll out there.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Andy

    Ill be voting obama these gop politicians are just full of greed and selfishness... you people better step up n vote for obama

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Rosemary Peppercorn

    If Grinch (I mean Gingrich) was in charge of the world, and if he was in Obama's spot, he would act like a dictator and DEMAND that Bonehead (I mean Boehner) do his job.

    Of course Obama will be re-elected. He's intelligent, honest, a good communicator, sincere, hard working, and not afraid to clean up after the Bush mess, which he knew would be an uphill battle. None of the Republican candidates can come close to Obama's qualities as a leader or a human being.

    December 20, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. deedee

    wonder where they dug these people up to poll?? From Acorn???

    December 20, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Michellee263

    This is a C N N poll - what do you expect? Polls can be and are manipulated to reflect what the pollster wants to reflect. O is not seen more favorably - G O P is not seen less favorably. The M S M is doing exactly what it did during the last election - manipulating the public.

    December 20, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Katie

    Yup, 50% sounds about right. About 50% of the population is just smart enough to remember to breathe so I imagine they use the remaining brain cells to support an idiot like Obama.

    December 20, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. SenorCoughee

    He's nothing more than a divisive, educated idiot. He's done more to damage our country with his divisiveness than any of the past Presidents.

    December 20, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Jean

    I don't believe this poll, unless we have that many stupid people in this country! This is a CNN poll, keep that in mind....

    December 20, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Bob

    Obama could have accomplished much more if it were not for the obstructionists in the Tea Pary, er, the Republicans. Barack is going to win the next election. What are the obstructionists going to do then, spend 4 more years damaging the nation?

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. vegas01

    A lull in negative economic impact should not be mistaken as a win. We'll see another downturn once we get the next salvo of healthcare reform. The resilience of our almost capitalistic system has once again gotten a foothold to star crawling out of the government induced pit, but not for long. Rest assured, Dems will be kicking us deeper as soon as they get past having to be reelected. They'll try to argue since we could regain our footing, knocking us down was the right thing to do. If we allow ourselves to forget the past simply because we found a knot in a ever-growing rope into the economic dungeons of socialist liberalism, we deserve to get kicked again and again.

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. RonT

    Lies, lies and more lies. Once again the media is rigging the polls to get a result they want! Has nothing to do with the Republicans. If you can't see that manipulation of data by the media to save Obama's chances, think again. First, look at the entire poll, then figure out how the conclustion was reached. Right straight out of the white house!

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. LA Doc

    A poll from CNN? Yea, I believe it's accurate, (scoff).
    Of course, all the hormonal, brainwashed, Obama-cultists will desperately grab onto this poll as proof he can win re-election. His whiny, self-centered, "victim" supporters and this corrupt, incompetent, victim-baiter-in-chief are in for a rude awakening next year.

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Joe

    Looks like the Communist News Network (CNN) once again rigged the Obama approval poll. However, we all know that 30% of the American population are idots that need a socialst government to take care of them. They are idiots because of the secular progressive brain washing received in the US public school system.

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. rogervarley

    Hardly surprising, given the buffoons running for the Republican nomination. In a country of 300 million, those are the best they can come up with? Poor America!

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Craig

    Nearing 50% eh? In what country?

    December 20, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Jim Locke

    Oh, he'll get re-elected. Yep, the population as a whole is that stupid.... and he even said it himself - lazy.

    December 20, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. Donald in CA

    The presidents ratings are on the rise because the american voter is starting to listen to the crazy right wing retoric on the right. The teapublicans are out to ruin america, and the voters are waking up to that fact.

    December 20, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Jake

    OBAMA 2012! Suckers!

    December 20, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "2) You post an awful lot on these forums. Perhaps you should do something else, like get a job"

    It probably is his job. Astroturfing is a GOP/Teatroll favorite. The rest of us sneak our posts on while at work and while faking looking busy haha

    December 20, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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