CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark
February 15th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 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. lovetravel

    It's nothing wrong. I read an emial and someone mention why can't we have debts down, I wish that happen too. How it start, what cause it, what can we do and why are we keep let it grow. I don't know what's going up there in DC but I do know something that many private company are borrow money from Goverment and don't pay back. There lots people are rip off other people and hurt them and stop used poor people. Everyone know that poor people are weak in read not write. Wake up and stop being too mean and let work together to fix this.

    February 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Alois

    This bogus poll is connected with loser obama's campaign propaganda headed by david axelashaft. If it was possible to poll all of the legal ,voting public, deadbeat obama wouldn't even get 20% of the votes.The only way loser obama will get reinstalled ,is to rig the elections ,again.

    February 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Ron

    SP, republicans are even offering "good talk". Those guys are terrible and cannot win the presidency!

    February 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Larry

    One random thought – the $40.00 a paycheck or $1,040 per year will also increase the pay checks of the same group of people that the President wants to pay more taxes. Very confusing.

    February 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. diridi

    Obbie, we love you....Obama2012.

    February 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. typical white person

    i'm surprised it's not 70% with everything obama is giving away...including our country. but, when nov comes the real voters will decide and i think it's fairly clear that obama has very little chance of being re-elected.

    February 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Independent

    I still like Obama but will only vote for him if he can do something or start taking steps toward getting the nation's massive debt/deficit/budget/spending under control, I don't want to pass this irresponsible behavior Washington to my own children.

    February 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    what a joke of a story

    February 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. logicnLA

    Mike223- I guess you weren't around in 2007 and 2008 when gas it 4.00 plus. the difference was we had demand for the porduct, now its just greed. we are selling more refined products to overseas then we are using. Obama's fault? Free enterprise? Deregulation? you choose- only two of the naswers are correct and they don't have a presidents name in them.

    February 15, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. fretlessbass

    Doesn't matter who the president is... their rating is whatever you want it to be. Stop posting vapid stories. Do you really think because you say more people are approving of the job he's doing that more people are going to actually start believing it. Who do you tools poll?

    February 15, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. charlie avila

    Osama bin laden, never existed, it was a usa government lie, to wash amaricans brains and have an excuse to invade other counties. But the usa is after oil and rare metals for advanced technology. Americans saw saddam hussein dead, but not bin laden death. Al qaeda is another lie. The twins buildings in manhattan were destroyed by the usa government to have a reason to invade irak, for nothing, only american soldiers deaths....

    February 15, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. M30

    Obama has been a great President ,the stock market is way up and this brings in
    more taxes to help the enormous debt created by GWBush's wonder why ? Iraq invasion.
    That war alone cost us lives taking care of our serious wounded vets forever and building Iraqi
    infrastructure over a Trillion dollars.
    Where Obama is a failure is fighting for his health care proposals as seniors by the thousands every day
    come into the system and yes in 10 years will need more nursing homes,have you checked
    the cost of them lately? and how few we have built in this country when the mud hits the fan.

    February 15, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. fretlessbass

    Doesn't matter who the president is... their rating is whatever you want it to be. Stop posting vapid stories. Do you really think because you say more people are approving of the job he's doing that more people are going to actually start believing it. Who do you tTooLz poll?

    February 15, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. hangar13

    Who would have thought – by keeping his promise of halving the deficit (from $400 billion to $1.3 trillion... hmmmm) he's made everyone happy. Obviously, a lot of people are still paying attention to the "mainstream" (i.e. 90% liberal Democrat) media. A lot of work needs to be done in this country, but if the media have their way, there won't be a country to save anymore. (see Greece, related story)

    February 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Bye Bye Teabaggers

    IF all you do is use name-calling and lies to discredit a man, eventually reasonable people look up and wonder why. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. tom

    Here is a fact to ponder...Bush's rating in his second term as president in Feb. 2008 compared to Obama's in Feb. 2012 was higher than Obama's. For all you Bush and Republican haters I wouldn't be so sure of Obama being re-elected since so many of you think Bush was the devil himself.

    February 15, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. durundal

    Uh oh the conservatives are going to be in a tizzy because his 'social pogroms' are working. Quick, start praying, im sure that will work....

    February 15, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. shybou69

    I though increased gas prices was Bush's fault. Hmmmm. I guess Obama can't be held responsible for anything until his next term.

    February 15, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. DoNotWorry

    The Republicans missed their chance to help this country recover. We will recover without them.

    February 15, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. steve

    From the other story on page one on CNN: "George W. Bush set the previous record of $3.4 trillion of deficits in eight years. President Obama is on track to add $5 trillion in deficits in just four years. " That says it all.

    February 15, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Seth

    LOL @ the GOP. It doesn't really matter who you nominate. It's pointless.

    February 15, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Toby

    Well we know at least half of the people are now on the wrong side.

    February 15, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Yeah!

    My daughter just walked into the living room and said "Dad, cancel my allowance immediately, rent my room out, throw all my clothes out of the window, take my TV, and stereo, and iPhone, and iPod, and my laptop. Please take all of my jewelry to the Salvation Army or Cash Converters. Then sell my new car, take my front door key away from me and throw me out of the house. Then disown me and never talk to me again. And don’t forget to write me out of your will and leave my share to my brother."

    Well, she didn't put it quite like that... She actually said...

    "Dad I have decided to work for Obama's re-election campaign."

    February 15, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. jo an

    I'll be happy when it is 99% in favor of Obama...the 1% can vote for the Republicans....since Obama is for the 99%!!!

    February 15, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. NameFrank Deery

    Obama has had 3 plus bad years. Let's not give him 4 more, just because some improvement is showing. If Greece goes bankrupt, and it looks bad there, and Iran nuclear, also looking bad, and he-and Pelosi-keep attacking Christian principles, he is not
    going to win re-election in 2012.

    February 15, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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