CNN Poll: Shift on describing economy doesn't help president's numbers
January 16th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN Poll: Shift on describing economy doesn't help president's numbers

Washington (CNN) - The number of Americans who say economic conditions in the country are "very poor" has dropped dramatically, according to a new national survey.

But according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, most of those people switched from describing the economy as "very poor" to "somewhat poor." The survey also indicates there's been little change in President Barack Obama's approval rating.

See full results (pdf)

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Thirty-eight percent of people questioned say the economy is in "very poor" shape, down 13 points from November. But the number of Americans who describe the economy as "somewhat poor" has risen eight points, from 34% in November to 42% now. As a result, eight in ten continue to say the economy's in poor shape. According to the survey, just 18% rate the economy as "good."

"The change was most dramatic in the suburbs, where most elections are won or lost,'" says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In November, 63% of suburbanites said the economy was very poor. Now that number has dropped 23 points."

According to the survey, 47% now approve of how Obama is handling his job, essentially unchanged since mid-December, when it was 49%. Fifty-one percent disapprove, up three points from last month.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from January 11-12, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 928 registered voters, conducted by telephone on January 11-12, 2012. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

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Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. mpbulletin

    from the national republican party. Given that level of opposition it has shown Obama and the Democrats have singlehandedly put this country back on track with NO help whatsoever from the other side.

    This is what the voters need to see... the bigger picture instead of the talking point from right-wing media and republican politicians. It is a sad state when the American people believe the unsubstantiated talking points over the facts of the overall situation.

    January 16, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. mpbulletin

    @ Tom in San Diego

    "Yes..but Obama wants everybody to live in their cars."

    Please show us all where you get this information from.

    January 16, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    mcgee wrote

    Until the US is allowed to drill oil again and the pipeline from Canada is approved, among other things, we will never get better
    How is the pipeline going to create jobs in the east and west coasts, where most of the unemployed live?

    January 16, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  4. Amy

    Obama hasn't start his campaign yet and according to Cnn latest poll he is tied with Romney.
    If that is true this president will win the reelection.
    Wait to see both candidates on stage, Obama will eat him for breakfast.

    January 16, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. james

    I have yet to find anyone eye ball to eye ball who admits that Obama is doing a good or even mediocre job.

    January 16, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Sean

    They're comparing the numbers of two polls with a margin of error of 3 points when the change is 3 points...for all we know the numbers could be the same...this is essentially a non-story...

    January 16, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. Bill

    Poll Shift – Pole Shift... little subliminal for you guys

    January 16, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Fire0bama

    During his first two years, 0bama was on a dangerous and risky track to expand the government and increase the debt through his 0bamacare, stimulus, Frank-Dodd, constant threat to increase our taxes, etc. Fortunately, the American people stopped this dangerous individual in Nov. 2010 by voting for a Republican congress. We must remove 0bama from the WH in Nov. 2012 so that he will never have a chance to damage our great country again.

    January 16, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. RONPAUL2012!

    How is Obama doing a good job and how is the economy improving when we have 23 million more people on food stamps from when Obama was elected in 01/2009 till today 01/2012? 3 years and 23 more million people below the poverty line? Are people smoking crack on this thread?

    January 16, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  10. michelle

    Business is great, the future just caught up. companies can get by with less. Attorneys do their own clerical work, checkouts are automated, etc.

    January 16, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Ed103

    His approval ratings would be much better if he would stear clear of the bipartisan talk. Even if he thinks it's true, stating, 'The Replicans are at fault because...' just really makes him sound like a whiner. Besides most folks are just sick of the bipartisanship; stear clear and he'd be golden for the next election. Finger point and he'll be labeled just that and a 'country divider'; and may end up losing it.

    January 16, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. pditty

    The economy is getting better? hmmmm Not in my neighborhood.

    January 16, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  13. DC Observer

    Obama is done – stick a fork in him. Now, who taskes his palce?

    Roney, or somebody else? The options to Romney are (1) that pillar of character and morality, Crybaby Gingrich – twice divorced – once convicted of corruption while Speaker – and disdained by every Republican in office and every Independent on Earth -- Newt has finished 4th and 5th and has shown NO base other than his base of lies and fiction - (2) Santorum, who is a better Democrat than Obama and a lover of pork spending - (3) Governor Perry who commands a 3% following in the national polls and has finished last in Iowa and last in New Hamshire and has three reasons why you should consider him, but he just cannot remember what they are (4) Ron Paul, an honest consistent gentleman conservative, who is the only one who has actually shown a budget and plan to reduce our deficit - Ron Paul is a viable option and in the national polls he is tied with Obama. I can support either Mitt Romney or Ron Paul - both are honest and decent individuals capable of winning - Mitt was also tied with Obama in the national polls As for the other 3 stooges (Newt – Santorum – and Perry) they get beat badly head to head with Obama less

    January 16, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  14. bits-n-kibbles

    "The sample includes 770 interviews among landline respondents and 251 interviews among cell phone respondents." The accuracy of this poll is ridiculous. Not just the number of people, but the ratio of LAN line phones. Who doesn't have caller ID? The people that picked up the phone from some random number. Good or bad news to you., or whatever, I question the accuracy of the poll.

    January 16, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. BorisCox

    Ignore the policies...Obama is not a leader. He is the leader of "the free world" and is supposed to bring people together, yet has done nothing more than instigate a grassroots conservative movement (Tea Party) and blames everyone else but himself for problems. A true leader takes responsibilty for his actions, he doesn't apologize to other countries for America's actions but rather defends the honor of the nation, and doesn't polarize people. He's a joke. He has done nothing to move this country forward, or rather out of the hole Bush dug. I'm not saying any of the Republican candidates are's relative...they're amazing when stacked against Obama, but Obama is going to try to blame his lack of progress, hope, and change on the Republicans inhibiting his proposals.(He had a Democratic Congress first two years he was in there and didn't do anything still)

    January 16, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. whoosh

    President Obama hasnt begun to fight!!

    January 16, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. JOE

    Plain and simple barry has let America down. Now it's time for barry to go.

    January 16, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Frank from Gilroy

    Always wish when they do these approval numbers, that they would breakdown the disapproval numbers to let you know who don't think he is doing enough or the GOPers who would'nt approve if he was the second coming of Christ!

    January 16, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Johnny DC

    And here come the Obama drones who don't know the difference between "Would you choose Obama over a Republican opponent?" and "Do you approve of how Obama handles his job?"

    Whether or not he's better than Bush is debatable both ways. Whoever openly says that they approve of his presidency is either lying through their teeth or incredibly misinformed. This president has ignored the Constitution in more serious ways than any other to ever sit in that office, which is saying a lot, coming after GWB. He's divided us racially. He's divided us socioeconomically. He's divided us every chance he gets.

    He is a disgrace.

    You may hate the GOP, but at least be honest and admit that you disapprove of him as well. Be honest and admit you'd rather have had a competent President H. Clinton.

    January 16, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. lesanekusa

    EHMM?? What economy?Cuz what we have here is not an economy.IT IS A MESS.

    January 16, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Rob

    Why are Obama's numbers still declining? Because Americans are sick and tired of this un-American socialist and his Democrat co-horts in government. They will be removed from office before they can do any more damage to this great nation. Come on November 2012!!!!.....Oh, by the way, I'm not a Republican, I'm an Independant.

    January 16, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. /sigh

    I'm glad they are basing the presidents elections off of peoples knowledge on the economy or agreement with how well he is doing his job and not the actual polsl that show the president would still win even if out against Romney.

    gotta love corporate run media.

    January 16, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. irene miscione

    So, the same people who have been screaming "it's the economy stupid" are now faced with an improving scenerio. These same people who claimed their dissatisfaction was solely based on the economy and jobs, now are still saying they are dissatisfied. I think it is time for Americans to examine their conscience and determine what is really at the core of their dissatisfaction. Could it be this President's successful attempts to expand the civil rights of gay Americans, especiall our military personnel? Or perhaps it is their intense belief that America should not provide decent health care for all Americans at some base level? Or perhaps it was the Lilly Ledbetter act that forces businesses to pay women equally or face prosecution? Or perhaps it is because you opposed his decision to get Bin Laden and all the others and to honor his campaign pledge to leave Iraq. If at the end of the day it is none of those things, then sadly you should admit to yourself that having an African American president has really rattled you. Too bad. I thought we as a country had made progress on that front. Based on what I have seen and read over the past three years, I am not so sure we have..

    January 16, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. ron j.

    you people are blind, it doesnt matter who is in the oval office. we had 8 yrs of bush and what happend ,nothing! we got 4yrs of obama and what happened,nothing!! as a nation when u turn your back on God what u get, nothing!! the economy is not changing stop the irrational bickering!!!

    January 16, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Ken

    But he's the only President who ever said "Congress needs to do their job!", right after his party dominated both the house and senate for two years and only managed to pass a hackneyed healthcare bill.

    January 16, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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