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. Mark

    This country is done for if the media talks America into Bama again

    December 20, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Anti Kerry

    Sounds like the poll was conducted in Cambridge, MA...

    December 20, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Jason

    4 more years, on top of the previous 12, of spending more wealth than wealth generated. Yeah, that'll work.

    December 20, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. bence

    That is not a lie. Obama is for the middle class and the GOP is for the rich and I mean the fat cats.

    December 20, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. nobrainer

    limit terms of Senators and Congressmen to 12 years and not return as lobbyist.

    December 20, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. stevege

    What a coincidence - nearly 50% don't pay income tax. Wake up other 50% of America! Obama is a Socialist. If you love this country and its freedom and liberty, vote Republican in 2012.

    December 20, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Dave

    Really? Even after learning he and his family and support staff are going to cost the taxpayers $4,500,000.00 to go on their personal vacation in Hawaii, when 50% of the general American public is approaching or at povery level? Are peoplel nuts? Are Obama supporters so blind that they also become dumb? The Obama's are wealthy enough to pay for their own vacation, and whatever support staff they require. If they can't, and require public funding assistance for $4.5M, then maybe they should show some cooth and good judgement and sympathy for their people, and not go on that elaborate, exhorbinent vacation. I was on the fence, but now, this has cost them my families votes for 2012.

    December 20, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. informed voter

    My family of highly educated, hard working, tax paying Americans will all be voting for President Obama for another term. Anyone with a working brain understands it takes more that a few years to fix the mess left by W, and having a Congress that is against anything that may help move the country forward has been an obstacle to recovery. Hopefully in Obama's second term we will be rid of the cancer known as the tea party, and delegate the republican party to the dust bin shared by the Whigs and the Federalists. Obama 2012, seriously.

    December 20, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Wes Monroe

    Great 4 more years under Obama's wonderful leadership and we'll all be looking for jobs...............go BO!

    December 20, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. funkymonkey

    If it wasn't for the religious right and so called "Conservative Christians", the GOP's approval rating would be hovering around 2%.

    December 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. garrett4538

    i love watching the ridiculous videos of Obama supporters who voted for him in 2008. They then get interviewed and dont even know why they voted for him or anything about whats going on. Obama is built on hype and has done nothing for this country but run up the debt. 50% is a lie from CNN or whoever.. Give Ron Paul the national stage next to him and you will see history being made as Ron blows him out of the water. Its not about left of right anymore, its about fixing our broken system so the people have control not the money.

    December 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Really, wher and what poll

    Hmm, must be the Cnn liberal media poll, because the AP, Rasmusen and Gallup seem to state different, for obama43%, against obama 54% and 3% undicide and he has a 34% favorable rating with independents, must be that Cnn Liberal poll again, too bad Cnn cannot get off the obama band wagon

    December 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Newt Getrich

    Newt is our only hope for absolute utter failure...make sure to cast your vote for any Republican, make this country the white rasict bs it was supposed to be.....

    Ru Paul 2012 !!

    December 20, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. WhatWouldRonnieDo?

    Good grief! I certainly hope people are getting sick and tired of the Grand Obstructionist Party and the coward Mr. Boo-Hoo Suntan, who is scared to death of his Tea Party wing.

    December 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. American

    Obama/Middle-Class Americans 2012...
    Because the neo-Con clown car is just too absurd and out-of-touch for consideration.

    December 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. mittensonkittens

    It's been 5 months since Obama has met with GOP leaders! The cowardly leader? The head in the sand ostrich? What he is proving is he disappears instead of leads.

    December 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Lenny Ladner

    We have too much government.
    Obama and every administration since 1933 have increased the size, cost, extended the reach and power of government.

    Pretty neat trick.

    December 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Mark B.

    Blah, blah , blah...Obama is toas.t No way America votes for 4 more years of his nonsense.

    December 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. PorkNBeans

    Write this down, along with my name.
    Prediction: As long as Americans continue to see what the Republican party has done, his numbers will continue to rise. By election time, bar any serious conflict, his poll numbers will be close to 70%.

    December 20, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. nobrainer

    I would really love to see President Obama reelected.

    December 20, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Love reading the spittle spewing invective from the right wing on this one. Obama will re-elected in 2012. He's been doing a great job considering the idiotic Tea Bagger Congress that's blocking everything, even their own initiatives, just to see him fail.

    December 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. antisophist

    The GOP primary race is making things very easy for Obama.....its a full-on reality tv show. I can't wait to see what Snooki.... I mean Bachman, does next.

    December 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    That simply means Americans have become welfare fools.
    ------------
    When the numbers go the other way it means Americans have been bamboozled again.

    Did you know that the number of people on public assistance, or seeking it, grew dramatically under Reagan? And that the trend continued under Bush-41? The number actually dropped under Clinton, only to resume its' climb under Bush-43. With trends and numbers like that, which party runs a welfare state? You tell me.

    December 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Mike

    You people do realize he is most likely going to OK a bill that literally strips you of your rights worse than Bush ever could. Also an impending internet censorship bill that is similar to China, Syria and Iran. Whats that? Because Obama is doing it instead of Bush it's for our own good....wait, what's that Mr. Republican? The Indefinite Detention bill would've OK because it's supported by McCain who would've been our president? But it just isn't ok under Obama? Well, I'm shocked.

    December 20, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Post American

    Dave – Do you really not want the POTUS to have security? I know the right is consumed with hatred of the POTUS, but we don't need another repeat of what happened to Reagan, Kennedy, or LIncoln. 4 Million to protect the POTUS and his family is chump change compared to the Millions of dollars we borrowed and spent every day in iraq. Get a grip dood.

    December 20, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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