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. Yephora

    Gullible fools!!

    December 20, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. PatrickStar

    Obama will win re-election and during the next 5 years we'll see vast improvements in the economy. It's already starting to happen as evidenced by a sharp increase in retail sales.

    December 20, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Big George in Big D

    Typical CNN blunder! Who on earth did you poll – all democRATS? The real news channel last night said that Rasussen polls had is approval rating at 47% and that's among 1500 likely voters. How anyone can approve of this dastartly man is beyond me! He has sunken this country to new lows that I hope we can rise above and never return to. He has made this great nation an embarassment to all. Instead of apologing and bowing to Muslim/Buddhist countries, maybe he should apologize to the citizens of the U.S. He cannot leave office too early! Good riddance!!

    December 20, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Richard

    Thank you Republitards! There will be more idiots coming from the republican party, they put this country in the hole when they controlled the presidency, senate and house for 8years, then they turn around and try to blame everything on Obama without coming up with any real solutions or ideas but instead just being complete idiots. They keep on talking about "job creators", where are the jobs since the Bush tax cuts? Funny how republitards are always about tax cut,so what is the hold up on the payroll tax cut for the middle class? is it because your rich friends can not buy their next company to send jobs overseas if they have to pay an xtra % in tax to help the country who helped them when they needed a bail out. Talking about being conservative, love God, hate gays, hate immigrants who built this country, hate muslims, love wars, love guns and they are all christians. Are you guys living pre civil war era or the year 2011?

    December 20, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. NOT MY CHAIR

    ouch that must really hurt if you support the GOP but great news if you like America

    December 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. philipinuhoff

    So Obama's poll numbers go up when he goes on vacation and libtards think that is good?

    December 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. tewrobert

    two terms with this loser and we will never be the same again..........Not gonna happen, We are going to be so in debt and over run with illegals there will be nothing for anyone thats working a job, Illegals will get it all.....and for what>? So obongo can get re elected...........

    December 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Rich54

    What are the 3 things you cannot give to Obama?

    1.) A black eye.

    2.) A fat lip.

    3.) A job.

    December 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Dean

    I have read many of your comments and find it hard to believe that everyone is believing a poll done by CNN as even being valid. Come on sheeple this is how they do it. Wear you down till you give up.

    December 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. shugee

    It seems that people who call themselves conservatives define themselves by who they hate: Liberals, socialists,eastern elites, the media, gays and unions etc. I have to ask where this 'talking point' about socialism in particular originates? Is it a case of:'if you repeat it enough, people will start to believe it'? As for the rest, I just don't get it- they are just citizens with a different viewpoint. Oh for simpler times when we could just hate Jews, Blacks and the Irish.

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Beth Vann

    O"I bow to foreign rulers"bama has disgraced the office of the president. Everyone who voted for him let themselves be swayed (played?) by a big smile and his appearance and charm (when he felt like using it)....and by the posts on this website many haven't bothered to learn a thing since.

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. CanadaOne

    CNN Can you tell us who real the GOP presidential contenters are in the USA?

    We have seem some recent debates on TV,,, BUT it cannot the studpid people we have seen to date.

    Seriously – the GOP must have smatter contenders? – very bad relfection on the GOP – is that all they got???

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. The Anvil

    Did I just read a triumphant sounding article touting the President's approval rating is "nearing 50%"?

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. beefjerkinn

    What's he been doin? Have his golf scores improved???

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Bruce

    = near 50% of Americans are either Ignorant or mentally disordered or hate themselves and America

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. larry august

    Bullsh t this is all propaganda,this is want the main stream media wants you to believe,how can his popularity be on the rise when he shuts down drilling for oil, stops keystone, stopping nuclear plants and now coal, see the pattern,hes trying to destroy this country and if he gets re elected ,he will, then you all better get guns, cause people are going to start stealing,what do you idiots see in this dictator who should be impeached and congress dosen't have the balls to do so, this is the most important election in our lives, we better stick together and make it a blowout to vote him out

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. joeamerican1

    Barry Obama voters are ready to vote themselves other peoples $ again......except they want more it it this time!

    December 20, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Gary

    So a poll taking around the same time as many others has him near 50%, while the others have him at 43% or 44% at best? Sorry, this is called being in the tank for team Obama and called an anomaly. I will take the word of Gallup over CNN any day as they are the more accurate polling firm. They have team Obama at 42% approval this morning and over 50% polled recently says he doesn't deserve re-election. Sorry CNN, but even the AP and CBS – not necessarily considered conservative outlets – have the President at bad numbers and over 50% against his re-election. 2012 is not going to be a good year for team Obama and CNN.

    December 20, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. PatrickStar

    The crazies who are waiting for another civil war, with their caches of guns and supplies of food, will have to seek medical help from a qualified mental health professional after Obama is re-elected.

    December 20, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. dbomb12

    When they say 5 point jump I think that means a shot from half court.

    December 20, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Larsinkima

    With a margin of error of + – 50%. :)

    December 20, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Dave

    Paul said:

    "Unread Americans will vote him in. I am middle class and there is no way in Gods green earth that I will be voting for Oboma. Yes, the picking are slim but just take a look around (and dont blame it on Bush), I have never seen the economy in such bad shape in my 52 years. It will not get any better. Why not ask the mgrs and employees of our biggest industries what their outlook is. That should change some uninformed minds. Or...............take the media as gthe gospel truth. I am ashamed to be an American at this point."

    Here is a perfect example of why there should be a mandatory IQ test for which a passing grade is required before being allowed to vote. Go back to school you ignorant skumb@g!

    December 20, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Freddy

    LOL! Poor lunatic libs. You expect the majority of the American people to believe this poll??? When you get to the details of this poll it shows that more democrats than republicans were polled. Look up the details on this poll if you dare.
    How is the 11% real unemployment rate going?? Rising homeless?? Rising foreclosures?? Nice try with your lies Occupy libs. Time to go crap on the sidewalk and go back to your tent and shoot up..

    December 20, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. doc

    If Americans elect the Obummer turd again, they deserve the HIGH unemployment, low standard of living, shortages, high fuel prices, and third world status they will achieve. Surely they're not that stupid.

    NEVER EVER VOTE FOR A DEMOCRAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 20, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. paul

    At least Obama is trying to do something. Republicans have done almost nothing except vote "no" on everything. We sent them there to compromise but they can't even agree within their own party. Obama has kept his promises including bringing home the troops from Iraq, taking out Bin Laden, ending DADT, etc. It is amazing he has been able to accomplish anything with the obstruction from the right. The only thing I see the Republicans fighting hard for are tax cuts for the rich.

    December 20, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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