CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark
February 15th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating is back to 50% for the first time in more than eight months, and he currently holds an edge against all the remaining Republican presidential candidates in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll released Wednesday also indicates that the GOP's advantage on enthusiasm has been erased, and that the number of Americans who think things are going well in the country is on the rise. Six out of ten say things are going poorly in the country, but four out of ten say things are going well, up 15 points since November.

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"Does that mean it's morning in America? It is for Democrats - a solid majority of them now say things are going well in the country. But overall, six in ten still have a gloomy outlook about the state of the country," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Optimism is on the rise among independent voters, with a notable increase among men as well, although a majority of both groups still think things are going poorly."

The rise of Americans who say things are going well appears to be helping the president, whose approval rating now stands at 50%, with 48% saying they disapprove of the job Obama's doing in the White House. The president's approval rating has edged up three points from last month and is up six points from November. The last time Obama's approval rating was at 50% or above was last May, as a result of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and it stayed there for about a month before fading.

"Independents now have a net-positive view of President Obama," says Holland. "His approval rating has also reached 50% in the suburbs."

Looking ahead to November, the poll indicates that the president's re-election chances are on the rise. In hypothetical matchups among registered voters, Obama holds a 51%-46% margin over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, leads both former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas by the same 52%-45% advantage, and beats former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 55%-42%.

The president appears to have gained ground since January against Romney, Paul, and Gingrich. Only Santorum has held steady. The poll also indicates that Obama wins a majority of independent voters in all four general election match-ups.

"More than six in ten Americans believe that the policies of Romney and Gingrich favor the rich; Santorum and Paul do better on that measure, but only a quarter feel that way about Obama," says Holland.

The survey suggests that the contentious Republican primary season has decreased enthusiasm among Republican voters, virtually erasing the "enthusiasm gap" that promised to provide the ultimate GOP presidential nominee with a major advantage in the fall. In October, 64% of Republicans said that they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for president, compared to only 43% of Democratic voters. GOP enthusiasm since that time has tumbled 13 points, to 51%, virtually the same as the Democrats' level of enthusiasm.

Other findings in the poll: 67% of the public says they are either very or somewhat angry about the way things are going in the country, down five points from September. And 31% approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, with 22% giving congressional Republicans a thumbs up. Both numbers are virtually unchanged from last autumn.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from February 10-13, with 1,026 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 report

Also see:

Gingrich: Santorum 'misunderstands' modern warfare

Santorum slams Obama administration as 'elite snobs'

Romney surrogates attack Santorum's record

CNN Poll: Romney's likability fading

CNN Poll: Gender and income gaps in GOP nomination battle


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    DEMSSUCKIT, yeah almost as bad as when the last Republican ran things. Too bad he screwed things for your party so badly.

    February 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Sotzume

    Love to see so called conservatives get all hot and bothered when things go well for the President. They ought to be looking at the fools they are presenting to the public as possible candidates for the job in 2012. If any "prayers" are being said, they should be for Santorum to be the candidate. It will spell the end of the Republican party,as we've known it, once and for all time. I never would have thought to ever have seen someone like Santorum be seriously considered by one of the two parties in this country. Its disgraceful and thoughtful Republicans, if any remain, ought to spring to action before its too late. Karl Rove, masterminded this sort of thing for Dubbya and he created a monster that soon will engulf the Republican party in a tsunami that may just drown them all.

    February 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Sammy

    Buget smudget, were not paying the chink s back anyways. Told ya Obama was smarter.

    February 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. alfranken

    Okay everybody, help me with our victory lyrics for the Obama song: "Holy, Holy, Hooooly, Obama will deliver us from the Boehner bondage into saaaalvation - holy, holy, hooooly - something like that.
    Or maybe something more like a Lynyrd Skynyrd song: "In Birmingham they love the governor, boo boo boo
    Now we all did what we could do
    Now Watergate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth"
    - I just can't wait to rip on those GOP talking heads - just cant' wait to show them their arrogant and naive errors.

    February 15, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Johnson

    Sort of takes the wind out of Romney's sails!! Romney is so full of anything that will help his ambition.

    February 15, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Gloria

    Does anyone notice things are finial getting pass congress. hummm.... I wonder why?

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. alfranken

    Okay everybody, help me with our victory lyrics for the Obama song: "Holy, Holy, Hooooly, Obama will deliver us from the Boehner bondage into saaaalvation - holy, holy, hooooly - something like that.
    Or maybe something more like a Lynyrd Skynyrd song: "In Birmingham they love the governor, ...
    Now we all did what we could do
    Now Watergate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth"
    - I just can't wait to rip on those GOP talking heads - just cant' wait to show them their arrogant and naive errors.

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. larry august

    the people who like this guy are either stupid or blind, if he gets 4 more, we will all regret it, America will never be the same , you idiots who want socialism ,just look at Greece, you cant keep spending ,somethings got to give, we have to do what ever it takes to vote this guy out

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. RINO Bil

    The only thing that matters is his approval rating in November. His rating today is meaningless.

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Eric

    The clown car known as the GOP candidate express is showing Americans that although President Obama may not be the greatest President of all time, it could be much, much, much worse.

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Sammy

    I put a hose on my roof, it heats water so I can take a shower ,I made a solar heater.... do I qualify for a federal loan?
    I gave Obama a stolen credit card #????????? W TF?

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. bugmetoo

    The Obama sheep. "I deserve another term..." Duh Duh Duh...O.K.!

    February 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Klkl

    1,026 are the majority of Americans right cnn? I love how people can be fool by this class warfare president.

    February 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. American

    2 things...polls mean nothing, they ask like less than 1000 people, as if that gets you an accurate number. second..when gas prices hit $4.50 this summer because obama doesnt want to build a pipeline, we'll see how low his poll numbers go,

    February 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. GetReal

    Hold on, let me show you my "shocked face"!! It's Obama vs. an Opus Dei 12th century theocracy candidate, an Opus Dei adulterous 18th century theocracy candidate, a Mormon candidate who believes that the state is trampling religious freedom (this INCLUDES the freedom to marry 5, 10, 20 wives...if it is part of your "religion"), and a nut-job who embraces white supremacists. Again: "Shocked face"!

    February 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Edwina

    Election year at it's finest... new jobs, new budget, new words... same meaningless drivel. Only new jobs have been US Gov't jobs in DC, new budget is more (huge) debt, new words are the same rock star... and of course, the media adds another worthless poll rating... all this for the political news-of-the-day, and the Dow is -97.3 points (.76%)... Nice try CNN.

    February 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Wait til the Koch Brothers and Citizens United have fully kicked in for 2012.

    February 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Sammy

    CNN is the fairest news organization of all. I'm a little tired of the bashing Obama all day though. And quit kissing Romneys behind already.

    February 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. AmericanSam

    In a Statistics course currently, and I'm finding it alarming how often people discount science. They don't understand that we can make very educated guesses about the views of a population based on a small sample if we use random sampling. When Obama's down, they're like, "Yes sirrr!" When he's up, "I just don't get how you can take 1,000 people..."

    February 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. Klkl

    Hey remember when obama and the dems had congress. Which they did nothing about budget or jobs. Oh right it must that never happen according to obama.

    February 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. dd

    of course his #s are rising...it's always the one with the most money with the most media in their pocket that wins...thats how stupid we americans are.....pitiful.

    February 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Debby

    What do you expect Santorum on the rise, Obama on the rise.

    February 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Cornelius Joe II

    The President doesn't have a leg to stand on. Who cares about these numbers! It all boils down to job. The wave that brought him into office, will come back the other way and take him back out to sea.

    February 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. NYC1972

    just sounds logical, reason, the republicans have the worse candidates, simple fact, i hate Obama, but i don't like Romney and don't need Newt in office – there is no true conservative running this year, it's frustrating, cause Obama is ruining this country, just look at the DEBT......

    February 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. refudiator

    Obama is investing in USA and getting us back on our feet. We'll probably have a surplus and 6% unemployment at the end of his second term, just like the last time we had a democratic president for eight year. Then let's see if we are stupid enough to go back to GOP and elect a moron cowboy.

    February 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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