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.

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. yup

    Of cource his ## are up.....look at the crap we have to choose from.

    February 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. bear79

    In the words of the great Daniel Tosh- "I'm better than you. Na-na na-na boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo"

    February 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Sam

    Your stupid if you vote for the republicans they're gonna make us work.

    February 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Pips

    Clinton's rating was around 30ish percent just before he got re-elected for a second term.

    Just a FYI.

    February 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. sammy zoso

    This breaking news was reported this morning on the N.Y. Times website. Also God bless Obama and his family and the USA. Maybe there is hope after all.

    February 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Jay

    CNN and the rest of the liberal media have started their campaign to put the liberal, deficit spending "Demo"crats back in the White House. I can't even watch CNN anymore...you and the rest of the democratic loaded media are so biased.
    The morning news is like an Obama ad.....and Mitt Romney has so many faults. Obama could carry Mitt's businees and financial briefcase....

    February 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Sam

    We need another trillion $$$ stimulus now!

    February 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. The Truth Hurts

    1,000 people do not speak for a nation of 300 million.

    February 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. mike223

    The mainstream media is doing everything they can to re-elect Obama. It's pretty pathetic that they actually think a 50% approval rating is a GOOD thing... hahaha!!

    February 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Neo

    Think he's gonna win by default if nothing else

    February 15, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Sam

    Why do we have nuke anyways lets get rid of them all. Lets sell them .....We need to feed our hungry people!!!

    Obama 2012!!!!

    February 15, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. drnen

    Geez.. im seeing a lot of poor brainwashed souls on this board. You guys can honestly say that you think Obama is doing a great job and deserving of reelection? Never underestimate the power of the media, i suppose. The truth is right there in front of you, for anyone who cares to seek it out. But it wont be found from CNN, FOX, MSNBC...

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Gary, I've never voted for a " communusst" : what is that? Are you home-schooled, by any chance?

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. bugmetoo

    Enjoy it while you have it! when everyone is paying $5.00 a gal. for gas this summer your out! Ya know, this sure wasn't headline news when he rated down in the 30 – 40 range. Keep that headline spot open when his polls crash this summer.

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. mike2236

    Hey Obama, I'll vote for you if you hire me into some made-up Federal position and pay me six figures! Rape the American people? YES WE CAN!

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Norm

    Keep up the birth control fight you fascist do-nothing teabaggers. Good luck running Rick "Put Big Gov't in your Bedroom" Santorum. Or if Wall Street gets back control, Mitt "Unemployed but made $20 Million" Romney. Yes, good luck in November. The GOP, on the wrong side of every issue, is going to get smoked.

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Lizzie

    NVa Native Posted Feb.15, 2012 at 4:13pm "It’s amazing how these GOPist morons will believe anything their TV tells them???, not like you, right, who checks out everything, or do you just repeat the democrats talking points.

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Sammy

    Why do we have nuke anyways? Lets sell them .....We need to feed our hungry people!!!

    Obama 2012!!!!

    February 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Jake

    re-election will be a slam dunk! with all of the attention that Romney has gotten for faking his pitch to the extreme right, there's no possible way he can fake back to the center to win a general election! The Tea Party/Evangelicals have boxed him in with no where for him to go! game over! And Santorum? please!

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

    Can someone tell me what is it that makes this particular "president" so inspiring? Oh wait let me answer....1 – His arrogance, 2- His condescending remarks to other world leaders 3-3 His apologies to other countries for for their wrong doing, 4- The Economy bouncing back...This is a norm, no matter what it always takes a couple of years for the economy to bounce back...

    February 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. darcy fournier

    iIsn't it funny how CNN, a known Democratic News Organization, reports on improvements in unemployment, economy and now his approval ratings in an election year?

    Yet we hear very little about the rising cost of gas and goods,nothing about foreclosure anymore (it's not better) nor the record number of small businesses that have been forced to file for bankruptcy because they cannot make it in this economy.

    Politics...such a dirty profession masked in some warped sense of nobility.

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

    Baloney, this left wing propaganda machine is at it again, publishing creative statistics to bolster Obama. The only poll that matters is the one that will occur in November and Obama will soon thereafter be out of there.

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

    The key point for a CNN Poll, avoid all Southern States, States with Republican Governors or Legislatures and the 242 Districts of the US House controlled by the GOP every other area is just fine!

    February 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. My name is Jose Jimenez

    Good news, but too far out in the election cycle. Poll numbers will fluctuate as events dictate.

    February 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Larry in Houston

    Only 50% ?? That means by the time October comes around – he will be @ 90 – 95% That's Great !!!

    Vote Democrat – 2012
    2016
    2020

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