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.

See full results (pdf)

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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. OGR99

    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.

    This is good news?

    February 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. hingedlwnb

    He's getting the "good lord those republican candidates all belong in a rubber room" bump.

    February 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. dan north

    We need to be invaded and liberated. All of our presidential choices stink. Over run by the media and those with money.

    February 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. JohnOBX

    Too early! You're starting to peak too early!
    Take a page from the NY football Giants. Lay low until the end, then pour it on!

    February 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. kreamowheat

    noooo.. say it aint so... the liberal presidents numbers are on the rise on a liberal media's poll???!?! im shocked!!

    February 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Jackie

    Give me a break! What is wrong with people? Obama stinks.

    February 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Amazing what happens when Republicans get exposed as liars again and again and again and again...

    ...what intrigues me is the ability of about 30% of people (independents) to forget just how bad Republicans are after such a short time...

    ...but, no one is perfect I guess...

    ...those 30% could be worse, they could be insane and start calling themselves Republicans...

    February 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. robert

    Flawed, Flawed, and Flawed. Nobody believes this anymore CNN.....

    February 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Obama is the best man for the job, thank goodness we have a great president.

    February 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. GeorgeGray

    Hope and change? Hardly. Oh, I forgot-Now the low wage temp worker will HAVE TO buy health insurance. Moreover, to what extent do the headline unemployment statistics mask an enormous unemployment problem?

    February 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. This Guy

    It's the second half America! Our president has laid down the gauntlet in terms of what we need to do over the next few years to restore some of the glory we lost under W's watch. Will we answer the call or vote back the "cut taxes and regulations for the job creators and everything trickles down to the middle class" ideology that got here in the first place?

    February 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Geek, nerd, dork or dweeb – no wonder, there hasn't been much to choose from

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Grahamman

    Obama sucks and we can't do another four years of him. However, the republican candidates aren't worth a sh** either and we have no viable third party candidate. We are all screwed!!!

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Ben

    If things are improving, why are gas prices so dam high? It takes 1/4 of my paycheck every week just to drive to my job!

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Peter

    Before the usual suspects start making noise about CNN being "The Communist Network", check real clear politics dot com and look at a BUNCH of different polls. All say pretty much the same thing. But remember: election day is a long way away!

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Surfer George

    The shape of things to come.
    Life is good

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. vic , nashville ,tn

    Good news for the nation

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. truefax

    Who wasn't expecting this? This is why Jeb didn't run, Obama's gonna ride the recovery to a second term.

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Nick-o

    it took a decade to get out of the great depression. fortunately, we avoided that. i think people will see that this presidency has been about making lemonade with this lemon of an economy that we had in 2007-08.

    February 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. jim

    How many Americans can't tell that this is all a pony show with the winners already predetermined.

    February 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. GoldenGod

    Kool Aide anyone?

    February 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. darth

    Not surprising. As horrible as he has been, the alternative of GOP candidates makes him look godly.

    February 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. jeremy

    I will be voting for President Obama again in the Fall! No chance of me casting my ballot for Willard Mitt Romney.

    February 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. K7

    Way To Go OBAMA!!!! #2012

    February 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Tom

    About time! Way to go Pres!

    February 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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