CNN Poll: 52 percent give Obama thumbs up
November 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: 52 percent give Obama thumbs up

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans give President Barack Obama a thumbs up on the job he's doing in office, but according to a new national poll they are less optimistic about the country's future than they were four years ago when Obama won the White House for the first time.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Monday indicates that 56% of the public thinks the country will be better off four years from now, with four in ten saying it will be worse than they are now.

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"The 56% figure's not bad, but it's way down from the 76% who felt that way in late 2008 after Barack Obama had won his first presidential bid," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Four years ago, as Obama took office, the nation’s economy was in a free-fall. Economic conditions have obviously improved from those days, with the country currently in a slow recovery.

Forty-three percent say things are going well in the country right now, virtually unchanged from just before the election, with 57% saying things are going badly.

The survey also indicates that 54% say they are enthusiastic or optimistic about the president's second term, with 44% pessimistic or afraid. The 54% figure is a bit less than the 58% who felt that way about President George W. Bush's second tour of duty in November of 2004.

Fifty-two percent approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, with 43% saying they disapprove. Obama's approval rating is virtually unchanged from his pre-election approval rating of 51%. And it's changed little this year: Since February the president's approval rating ranged between 49% and 52% in CNN polling.

"The generation gap that was evident in presidential vote still remains, but the gender gap has vanished, at least temporarily," Holland said. "President Obama's approval rating is 58% among younger Americans, but a majority of older Americans disapprove of Obama. But Obama's approval rating among men and women is exactly the same - 52% among men, 52% among women."

Will a first term under his belt make Obama a better president?

Fifty-three percent say the president's experience from his first four years in the White House will make him a better president over the next four years, with 13% saying it will make him a worse president and one in three saying it will make no difference.

According to the poll, 58% have confidence that Obama will make good choices to replace Cabinet members who leave his administration, although two possible replacements for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, are not nearly as popular or well known as Clinton.

The election returns did not appear to change public opinion of Obama, with his favorable rating now at 56%, but Mitt Romney's favorable rating has tumbled to 43%, possibly a response to the Republican presidential nominee's remarks last week that he lost the election because Obama offered "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters. Romney's favorable rating dropped six points to 43%, with his unfavorable rating edging up to 50%.

One other finding from the survey: Fifty-one percent oppose the new national health care law, with 42% saying they favor the measure, known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and nicknamed by many as "Obamacare." But only 37% oppose the 2010 law, passed by a Democratic controlled Congress and signed into law by Obama, because it is too liberal, with 9% opposing the law because it's not liberal enough.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 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

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soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Diane

    Who is Grover Nordquist anyway? And where does any elected official from either party get off signing any kind of pledge that binds them into a position like this? Democrat or Republican, senators and congress members work for the voters, not for some activist and his organization. They answer to the voters. Period.

    And to Nordquist, I'd like to ask why he thinks I should pay the same rate of tax as my boss who makes literally 5 times my salary? I think she can afford to pay a little more. Don't you?

    November 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. The REAL Truth...

    Well we can thank the Grand Obstructionist Party for all the negativity bandied about during the recent (elongated, onerous and incredibly boring) election season of 2012. I have never seen the level of dirty pool in any other election that occurred in this. Sure, the usual voter issues with the stupid VoterID laws, SCOTUS and Obamacare and the asinine political meanderings from GOP candidates such as Perry and Bachmann. But the divisiveness this go-round was appalling. Between the Teapugs and Grover Norquist, what's a real conservative gonna do, eh??
    Hopefully the Republikrats got the message.. it's time to change their message, as it failed miserably in many traditionally red states.

    It's no wonder Americans are a little less optimistic about the next four years.

    November 26, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Mike Texoma

    Grover Norquist can cause some mischief, but his time in the limelight is fast running out. He may yet unseat an encumbent or two in some of those "safe" districts, but the Republican national handwringing is on the wall, and there is no doubt it has to minimize the damage and condone "the deal".

    November 26, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Julia

    This country is going into the crapper at an accelerated rate.

    November 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Attention Repubs.: You're KILLING American Democracy. You claim to LOVE this Country, even though you fight tooth & nail to avoid paying taxes & your Grand Kids never fight in the wars you love so much. You wax nostalgically about the Greatest Generation but aren't willing to break a sweat in sacrifice to deal with the here & now. Could you be a little less self absorbed for the future of this Country ?

    November 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Jay

    Really does this have to be in the "breaking news" section. No one ever asked me so I say this statistic is whack and not statistically significant!

    November 26, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Presto88

    Why should we feel more optimistic? We have a guy in the White House who doesnt have a clue!!

    November 26, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Jon

    Does a poll like this really merit a "Breaking News" Banner on the CNN homepage?

    November 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. ponyboywp

    Yea, Repubs got the message. There are alot of lazy, "I want free stuff" voters out there, that have no desire to contribute to society, that want to take money from my hard working family to give to a lazy family. If that is what you wanted, that is what you got. I will continue to fight for a true America not a true Europe that BO wants. Sorry.

    November 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. bpj13

    Because they don't know any better. Those are the people who voted for him in the first place.

    November 26, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Kevin

    If people are less optimistic, then voting Obama back in office certainly could not have been the smartest thing to do. Wow, I guess the Europeans and Chinese are right – Americans are friggin idiots.

    November 26, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. mrmagoo

    Dumb would be if the GOP continues the same obstructionist values they carried through Obama's first term.

    November 26, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. pjoe

    If its not destroyed before then, the country will be better off.

    November 26, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Gabbo

    OWEbama is a stiff ... a puppet on the end of a teleprompter run by George Soros and the DNC.

    November 26, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Mike

    Well, if Americans think that after 4 more yrs of Odumbo we will be better you can see the affects of what "overmedicated" people. I guess those drugs do ease the pain.

    November 26, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. widow

    how does a guy spend 6 trillion dollars with zero sustainability and get reelected... pretty much no one can be worse..

    November 26, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. abyss

    Garbage in; garbage out!

    November 26, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Mark Stone

    Clearly, the majority in this country are stupid. And I'm talking to you, the collection of morons who glanced at what this sham of a president has done in the last four years and felt comfortable giving him another four. The fact that this same collection of misfits, have-nots, pseudo-victims and ivory tower idealists are still optimistic about what this man will do to the country given his anti-success, anti-business message does not speak well for our prospects. Who cares what the majority of these people think? They give us The Voice and American Idol as the standards of culture. They idolize Housewives from New York to Orange County, and the Jersey Shore. They are stupid, culture-barren, selfish miscreants and, sad to say, they are now the majority of the US. They couldn't support themselves to save their lives, and while they may make the rich poorer, they will make themselves much, much poorer in the process – complaining all the way down the drain. So, for God's sake, stop with the polls seeking opinions from these idiots.

    November 26, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. /sigh

    we need a good ol' fashion peasant uprising against the aristocrats like grover and his GoP followers.

    November 26, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. CNNuthin

    BREAKING NEWS: CNN/ORC poll: 44% of the U.S. public watch Fox News habitually.

    November 26, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. JB in MN

    Unemployment among African Americans is up nearly 3% in the four years of the current administration (source: Businessweek Oct 15 2012). From 11.3% before he took office in 2008 to 14.1% a couple months ago.

    November 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. wowStatisticsAbusedAgain

    The majority of Americans also feed on dead animal meat and carbonated-colored-sugar-water. Is CNN suggesting "the majority" have brains? Are we now measuring "probability" based on popularity? If that's the case, "potato chips must be a healthy food choice!"

    Folks – this is why we live in a Republic. The majority are too dumb to influence. So, CNN... what's your point?

    November 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. abyss

    There was not enough incompetence in the first 4 years so we want 4 more years of incompetence.

    November 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Lita Latina

    I'm tired of CNN posting polls. Apparently they did not learned the lesson of the pasta election, this polls are misleading. Remember when they were telling that Mitt Romney will win the presidential election? Please let Democrats and Republicans do their jobs.

    November 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. chris

    Thats becasue they know what to expect this time around. Nothing! lol

    November 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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