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. Brother Man from the 5th Floor

    The argument of blaming Obama for everything has worn itself out! People see that the man is trying to do something and getting no help for the GOP. Obama, second term coming right up!

    February 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. gt

    most of ben taken in california, new york or chicago.... not jobs here,... home price stink.. gas prices up..401k down...

    February 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. bill

    what do you expect from a liberal station

    February 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Patricia Kelley

    Polls are meaningless when people are hungry. Polls are meaningless when people need a job. Polls are meaningless when the Liberal media targets liberal voters in their polls.

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. i_know_everything

    game over, now the fight is for the house

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Sam

    I sure wish Obamacare would have kicked in sooner, I'm tired of paying for my subscriptions .

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Arizona CowGirl

    I tried to get a refinance on my home mortage from BofA, and I have a credit score of 830, and was turned down. Now, who should I vote for?

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. amarjeet

    People of America know that GOP & Tea Party cannot produce a leader compareable to President Obama & already in arena pf presidential candidates are falling back in lost rows of lost hopes & lost votes after leaving their historical & traditional spirity rebounding on themselves & their perception of hurry..

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Leila

    I agree with another poster who said that the only reason Obama's rating was down is because he gave in too much to Republicans. We voted him in office to stand up to the Republicans. To the extent that the status quo was not being challenged, we were disgruntled with him. Now he is taking more charge. That is what I voted for. Besides, take a good look at the GOP campaign. All they know how to do is discredit each other and talk badly about Obama. No one has any real ideas that will actually materialize anyway and who still believes in the 'trickle down' theory anymore? Santorum scares me with his puritanical beliefs about women and Romney caters to whatever audience he happens to be speaking to at any given time.

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    YAY! Finally...you go, Mr. President.

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Dan

    well done CNN, you're a factory of misleading us, not this time.
    Unemployment 9%, gas $4 and going up? Oh, don't blame the president! Really, you blame Bush for 8 years, Listen" I will not blame my mother for the gas to be up....fish is smelling from the head!

    February 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Bill

    Don
    President Obama is far from perfect. His presidency is a work in progress. But, he has continued to improve, ----–
    Pf course they improved. When you do nothing for 3 plus years taking a krap will improve your ratings.

    February 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. truman

    once gas goes to $4 dollars a gallon obama is toast and it will be Bush fault not vetoing the pipeline and 22,000 jobs lossed

    February 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Steven H

    I need to have my head examined? Mr. Republicans are the greatest? If your statement is right on the money. And their poll is wrong. Then how did Obama win last election? Hmmmm? If Republicans are the Greatest! Then how did Bush screw up last election and how did Palin screw it up for McCain, and how did McCain lose? I'll tell you a fact Mr. Republican's are the Greatest! It's by thinking the way you do that is screwing up things for the Republicans! You people base your facts on the way you feel, and your religion which is not based on "facts!" You seem to think anyone who does not think like you is stupid. Well sir, or Mrs, to think that way is STUPID! I'm not wrong or stupid because I disagree with you. If I'm wrong it's based on facts that apparently you and your sheep do not have. Simply put!

    February 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. SF

    Only according to CNN! Cartoon network!

    February 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Mark of Tennessee

    Wonder what Foxnews spin on this will be

    February 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. wallster

    He's pushed for affordable healthcare for all Americans, insisted on saving the American auto industry, orchestrated Bin Laden's death, saved the economy from a depression, and asks for the top 1% income earners to simply be fair a pay a little more to help our Country... what's not to approve? This man is smart, articulate, and has a sense of fairnes and compromise, re-elect him and give him a Democratic house and senate so we can all prosper.

    February 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Chike_Afanna

    Oh no CNN; you just alerted Republicans to engineer a crisis to push back Obama's polls numbers!

    February 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Willy Brown

    No doubt these poll numbers are fudged just like the unemployment numbers were fudged to make Obama look good for a few minutes. He’s a one term proposition < his words not mine.

    February 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Bill G

    Who are they asking?

    February 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Phyllis

    No wonder, the Republicans are killing their own chances with such heated attacks on each other. It is like a circular firing squad. They must be nuts. I thought I might vote against Obama this time, but the GOP is not giving me much reason to do so.

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Lolo

    @ Ben, get a smaller vehicle and stop driving that gas guzzler. I knew you republicans would try to blame this on him. If the republicans would quit standing up for big oil to line their own pockets maybe gas prices would go down. Also wake up because the rest of America has. Your clown party is done.

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. John S

    I basically do not worry too much about who is President. Although I know from past two term Presidents that most of American cannot wait for that second term to end. If Obama does get another term I don't his second will be much different then his first. America has much more problems then just a president. We have a Congress who cannot agree to any cuts. About all the agree on is extending the deficit. I think Obama should enjoy his popularity today because the rest of the year could get bumpy again.

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. anthony Stark

    The GOP is making this choice really easy.

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Sam

    I hear next term Obama will double welfare benefits? Is that true?

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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