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. Asturiano

    I wish the economic wunderkind here would understand that in a recession the government is suppose to stimulate the economy with spending to increase the the job market. That means both tax cuts and spending, such as infrastructure spending.

    February 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. petemg

    Yup typical for Obama. His popularity was slipping so he had to go out and kill somebody. Yes bin Laden was a bad guy but when President Bush was in office, they had a bin Laden in the cross hairs, but the UN or NATO told him it was against the rule.
    Then Obama promises illegals free education and such so they bow to Obama. I know these people have more intelligence to think the truth, but they are scared of losing this benefit. But when he gets re elected, those same people will be able to pay higher taxes. Oh and then who will Obama pick on. And if his popularity were down, he just uses his unused millions to buy the vote. Think about it, he keeps campaigning in guise.

    February 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!! The crazy from the right wingers is strong in this thread. Let the hate flow thru you....

    Can't wait for the heads exploeding when he's re-elected. Go go gadget jiffypop...

    February 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. logicnLA

    KURT- Our debt will drop if we could get Congress to approve plans proposed as they are proposed. When a bill is disected by either body and the meat taken out, it make the bill so weak that when implemented, it does not have the desired affect. Take healthcare- funding was included though several sources, but to appease Republicans, those sources such as additional taxes, were removed. This sort of thing happens to almost every bill and has for years.
    If you are able to keep anopne mind- then Please run for office!

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

    A lot of right ding wings posting on here that gas will be greater than $5 a gallon this summer because Obama didn't approve the pipeline. How does that make logical sense when, even if the pipeline project had been approved, it wouldn't have been completed for several years anyways? Logic: it escapes you. Which is obvious based upon your candidates.

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. PepperNation

    What else do you expect from the Communist News Network(CNN)?

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. William Johnson

    Perhaps you should poll registered, likely VOTERS and see what the results are, if you dare print them. We the public are tired of 'creative accounting' in you polls.

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. newton

    conspiratorial liars! Where's the fox news polls that i want to believe?

    hey dummy naysayers. its a poll. all polls are flawed. its just a poll. who knows if its the real deal or not. all polls have a potentially large margin of error, or they can be spot on.

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. James

    "Gas has gone up 84% under Obama"

    Really? I was paying over $4 a gallon under Bush, where were you getting gas? What do you want Obama to do about it anyway? The president does not mandate gas prices. Why don't you go gripe at China for increasing their consumption?

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Remember the Nixon republican gas lines of 1973? We all waited in line to get our 5 gallons.

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. anon-i-mouse

    Overall I'm happy with the president and will be voting for him in November. However, I REALLY wish someone would get serious about SS and Medicare. Clearly, they are not sustainable and clearly they will have to be tackled. I was very disappointed that there wasn't at least a minor attempt to address it in the president's budget. Hopefully it's just election year politics and he'll get to it when he starts his next term.

    February 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Lola

    Annual deficits have been over $1 trillion each year of Obama's first term. His second term promises more of the same. I don't see how people can cheer this.

    February 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. castaway

    Oh yea, America is back! Gas on the rise, jacked up housing market, massive unemployment, our country is basically owned by China today. We're depleting our nuclear arsnal while Iran, China, Russia, and every other larger country get's to keep theirs. Crime is up, people taking to the streets in protest. My paycheck is declining but I'm working twice as much. Our educational system is a mess. Congress can get anything done. Now we are bailing out the senate barbershop with our tax dollars. We're bailing out companies with millions of dollars just to see them go bankrupt and pocket all the bailout money. Yes Obama please give us more of your fine leadership. America is back!

    February 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. olepi

    “Petrol demand is as low as it’s been since April 1997,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. “People are properly puzzled by the fact that we’re using less gas than we have in years, yet we’re paying more.”

    Hmm, so demand is down, supply is up, and prices are .... up.

    “We’ve seen about $11 billion of speculative money come in on the long side of gas futures,” he says. “Each of the last three weeks we’ve seen a record net long position being taken.”

    Oil speculators, hmm. And who are the biggest oil speculators?

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

    Funny how asking someone if things are going well in America is a measure of support for Obama. I think some things are going well, and some things are going poorly. But, of course, much of what is still going poorly is attributable to disasters caused by the Bush administration and the depraved behavior of Republicans in Congress. Not to mention crazy right wing Republican governors around the country.

    So, things could be going better. Hopefully the horribleness of the GOP candidates for president will help drive the GOP further into the fringe where they belong.

    February 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Be Sane

    Obama 2012!
    The economy is coming around due to his steady leadership. All the while the republicans were busy with their clown show.
    When things go wrong, everyone gets fearful. They have to blame someone and unjustly that was our President. But he kept a steady course and we are coming out of the worst recession since the great depression. All caused by Bush.
    Thank you President Obama for caring about the welfare of our country.

    February 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Owebama

    Record number of people on food stamps.
    Record number of unemployment.
    Record debt.
    Credit rating downgraded.
    Signed the NDAA
    and the list goes on and on.....

    But hey, there's enough leeches in this country to support him!

    February 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. yogi

    @ Mary. I think that W. Bush easily wins that award, and is the price of gas the only argument you can come up with? How sad. But don't feel singled out, you are not the only one with such a distorted view and understanding, many Republicans have a similar handicap.

    February 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Klkl

    President Obama is the adult in the room? Yeah...Mr. Nothing my fault and arrogantly stomping his feet until he gets what he wants by bending laws.

    Dems and obama can talk about how much it is the gop fault. But when they control congress they sure knew what garbage bills to pass that didn't help the economy.

    February 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. P-Nizzle

    It makes me laugh when people bring up the price of gas at the pump as part of an argument for or against a president. You're talking about a finite resource that has been exploited for over 100 years and is predicted to run out in about 75 at current consumption (not counting the ever-increasing Chinese demands on the market. What do you expect prices to do? Drop? Stabilize? Get a clue.

    February 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Larry L

    Best President of my 65 years! He is the adult in the room and a wonderful advocate for working people.

    February 15, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Alex

    who are they kidding??
    4 more years for President Obama
    Go Obama

    February 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Jamal

    The middle class will continue to support Obama until they have absolutely nothing, or until the country implodes due to his complete failure to cut the deficit

    February 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. PK California

    The GOP has the worst slate ever!!!! Certainly there must be someone who has an idea on how to cure the country of the mess Obama inherited! No, don't jump all over that! Bush made the worst decisions a president could make and left it all to the Dems to clean up. He knew it wouldn't be easy and he knew a Dem would be elected. Obama is doing the very best he can do and has chosen the best available to help. The GOP only knows 1 thing, save the rich and stomp on the poor! Same ole same ole.

    February 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. asktheexperts

    can CNN stop supporting one candidate and be real media,it so annoying the way they manipulate the news and I recommend to be neutral as a media and not take sides as it used to be years ago,other wise they will lose more followers.

    February 15, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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