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. mittensonkittens

    Barry has not met with GOP leaders for 5 months! He's talked to Iraq's leader! He's had time to campaign and vacation again and again. But no talks with GOP leaders for 146 days! What a coward.

    December 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Ken

    CNN?? Oh yeah they are where?? LEFT of anything center. I see the game folks I hope you do to. Liberla mediaites on the prowl. Hooking up with that liberal actors guilt right?

    December 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Lori

    ... and the CNN Pravda-like propaganda just keeps on rolling on.

    December 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. JungleCogs

    Gee, same % of working people who don't pay federal taxes. Dependence society here we come!

    December 20, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. jeff

    I think all of the middle class should quit working, get on welfare and watch the top one percent try to rape an empty Treasury. Their next choice would be to immigrate to China so they can begin the rape of that country the way they have done this one. Job creators ... thats a bunch of crap. It is small business that provides most of the jobs. We all know that. Time for the wealthy to pay their fare share and not be allowed to hide behind tax laws that favor them over the poor. We need to bar congress from every way and any way that they could benefit from holding office. Then see who runs. Bunch of self-serving greedy carpet baggers the whole lot of them.

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. CanadaOne

    Canadians like Obama!

    Shocking Poll

    Most Pro US countries prefer Obama
    Most Anti US countries like the GOP

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Honest Citizen

    This has happened at two times in his presidency.

    1. During Holiday seasons. and
    2. When he keeps is stupid mouth shut.
    NEITHER WILL LAST !

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Ralph

    Seriously..... you publish this poll and do not include ANY demographics on the sample???? What % of the respondents were of each party or independent? If you sample 5% more or less of any one party, you totally skew the results.

    Very shoddy!!!

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. ART

    This isn't news I've always known that Rethuglicans are like butt holes they all stink.

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. John

    Amazing, the poll oversamples by 3% and his numbers go up. Go Figure.

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. bcanook

    If you want BIGGER government, vote for Barack and the democrat party.

    December 20, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. BW

    Note: Poll was of all Americans. It was not confined to likely voters. It was not even confined to registered voters. If Obama still doesn't muster 50% in a poll of all Americans, he has to be considered an underdog at this point. Rasmussen has him at 47% among likely voters, which is just a hair higher than he has generally been for months.

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. NoMoreObama

    What has Obama actually done to cause these poll numbers to go up? He has not led anything. He has not managed anything. Unemployment reported by the government has gone because fewer people are looking for work than any actual job creation. If it weren't for the media outlets like the Communist News Network (CNN) his poll numbers would be in the 30s or 20s. He is pathetic and not my president!

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. doug

    Most Americans don't believe that law abiding Americans should their guns which are used for protection and hunting taken from them, while fully supporting the Obama admin giving guns to Mexican drug cartels so that they can use them to kill US border agents. This is what you fully support if you vote Democrat, sorry facts are facts.

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. LOST in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    so what are the odds that you will NOT find these poll results on FoxNews?

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. John B.

    Everyone was complaining about the government spending too much. The House is trying to keep it under control but Obama and the dems want to play politics by whining about the middle class not getting their tax decrease. Well, I'm the middle class and I would rather pay a little more in taxes and see SS/Medicare and our deficit be helped. Those crying against what the House is doing are those who want to reduce spending but not with their money...can't have it both ways. Anyone but Obama in 2012!

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Get Real...Seriously

    Five point jump??? Perhaps when they were conducting the survey, they kept on dialing (202) 456-1414

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. magicbeans

    Its always a good idea to check the sample in these polls.

    December 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. foolishLibs

    Reality is the Middle Class can not stand Obamination or either parties. Which of the 2 evils should one vote for?

    December 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Sam.DCS

    Dave, Dave, Dave, 1st and foremost, $4.5Mil for a vacation is not a fact, please check your facts. Fox News put that figure out there in order to enrage people like you. If you can recall, they said it was $11 mil then was reduced; they ended up saying it was a lot then finally changed it to $4mil+. Are you so dumb man?
    Think about it, few days Presidential vacation cannot cost that much, oh I forgot, Fox viewers like you don't think for themselves, my mistake. Why didn't you complain during Bush's 1st term in office where he took almost a year of vacation of tax payer's expense costing us over $7mil combined? Again, where were you during Bush's 2nd term in office where he took additional 200+ days of vacation? So, out of 8 years in office former President Bush was available for 6yrs. Are you for real man? Are you just ignorant of these facts or your hatred for a mixed race person with African American family in the Whitehouse blinded your intelligence?

    December 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. noway

    obama is done in 2012 period, this marxist who tanked the country with the rest of the dems in the first two years is still trying to blame bush for everything. obama is not more better than what i clean off of the bottom of my toilet once a week.

    December 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Thank you GOP for your contributions

    They dont understand the more they fight Obama the more they fight the middle class. Keep saying no, keep doing what your doing. Thank you for Mittins, GingGrinch, pastor Perry, Bachmann, Palin, & the rest of your impressive line up.

    December 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. 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.

    December 20, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Honest Citizen

    matt and NL

    I have memories of Eisenhower as president and you two babes know nothing about "GOOD". Obama tops the list for only one thing, worst president since Jimmy Carter.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. jim

    I'd vote for Daffy Duck before I'd vote for any of the GOP candidates – coming from a life long Republican

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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