CNN Poll: 52 percent give Obama thumbs up
November 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
1 year 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. Le

    OBAMACARE is here to stay ladies and gentlemen

    These are the same polls that had him losing the election...the tea baggers aka KKK,n/Norquist need to go, let freedom ring
    ___________________________________
    I see you like to send out divisive hate propoganda like your dear leader.

    November 26, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. dave

    I despise our Socialist-in-chief and what he is doing to our country. Why would anyone be optimistic

    November 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. A AP gov. Student that has a awesome teacher

    When a new president comes into office everyone expects him to be that person that brings big change to America. So four years ago everyone pictured Obama riding his magic little pony up to the White House and really do something
    Awesome. Well just like every president before him, when his first term was up, Americans want to blame someone for their problems. And that person is almost always the president. So the moral of the story is that every president falls off their magic little pony at some point during their first term. Therefore, this isn't "breaking news" to me.

    November 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. The Left Wing

    Four years ago Americans were optimistic because they had gotten rid of a bumbling leader and elected a much more thoughtful and responsible leader. However, they underestimated the seriousness of financial crisis. A more realistic appraisal would have been that it would be tough getting out of that situation, and simply changing to a better leader wouldn't make all are problems go away without a fight. So, four years ago people were unrealistically optimistic.
    ***
    At the present time, Americans should be cautiously optimistic. The hard fight will continue, but we are in a much stronger position now than we were four years ago. In addition, things are getting slowly better now rather than rapidly worse as they were four years ago. Perhaps, the most troubling thing that has arisen is the almost total inability of the two parties to work together. This has been largely due to Republican obstructionism, but there are now signs that a few Republicans will start to put country ahead of rigid ideology and/or politics. If the two parties can work together to avoid fiscal disaster for the country (and political disaster for Republicans), we should be reasonable optimistic that the pace of recovery will pickup.

    November 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. ramble3144

    Obama the dope: what happens if interest rates spike big time? And our huge debt becomes overwhelmingly costly???

    November 26, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Q

    Who did CNN poll? A bunch of Romney supporters with sour grapes syndrome?

    November 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Dean

    Babyboomer – about time to quit blaming Bush especially since Obama's actions have made the economy worse/

    November 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    Babyboomer – Obama couldn't fix the mess in four LIFETIMES, he is a divider, not a fixer!

    November 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. JJ

    ...and this is directed towards the same morons who just got done re-electing the quack???

    November 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. Gabrielle from Mpls,MN

    The polls for one thing don't mean anything... it proves they are wrong they said it was even vote between the two presidential candidates it was not even close! I think there is a lot of positive things that are going to happen and the country knows and sees what the Republicans did for the last four years and that was to fight with the president on anything that would be progress, President Obama has been trying to push a job bill and the Republicans have fought him every step of the way. Go away all you haters...

    November 26, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Fred Smith

    Oh, now you tell us. Only took a few weeks to change the entire nations feelings. Hmmm.

    November 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Susan

    I voted for Obama too but I'm less optimistic because I see and understand better that he can only go so far with legislation he proposes–none of it is a done deal. I watched countless times Congress (Republican Party basically) do everything under the sun to make Obama's first term a nightmare for the country. That body is a disgrace and my pessimism won't likely change until I see some moderate and fair legislation both sides are willing to agree with equally. The Republican Party has their own agenda that is one-sided and not for the middle-class's well-being–not at all.

    November 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. A AP gov. Student that has a awesome teacher

    When a new president comes into office everyone expects him to be that person that brings big change to America. So four years ago everyone pictured Obama riding his magic little pony up to the White House and really do something
    Awesome. Well just like every president before him, when his first term was up, Americans want to blame someone for their problems. And that person is almost always the president. So the moral of the story is that every president falls off their magic little pony at some point during their first term. But that doesn't mean they will be looked at as a bad president in the future.

    November 26, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Mike in SA

    That whole rationalization by the media that goes "A majority of people are opposed to the law...but 9% say it's because it's not liberal enough while ONLY 37% say it's because it's too liberal" is ridiculous pandering bordering on full out active promotion of the law. It's not news reporting, it's a joke because if those 9% were appeased and the law was made as liberal as it would take to please them, then you would have an even higher percentage saying it was way too liberal.

    November 26, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    @ 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.
    --

    I'm willing to bet you don't work anything but your fingers on your neighbor's keyboard. I voted for the president twice, and I assure you it wasn't because I wanted "gifts". Your party is hateful, mean spirited and unequipped to handle moving this country forward and thank God, your boyWillard is home (again) counting his unAmerican money.

    November 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Mark

    I doubt I am the only person in the country who makes more money now than 4 years ago but, I also spend more for gas, groceries, utilities, insurance and everything else, which means I take home less than I did 4 years ago. Yet people still approve? Not me, and I gaurantee if it had been a white republican the approval would be down around 35%. We have a democrat controlled senate that has refused to present a budget in some where around 4 years and yet all they seem to want to do is spend and tax. The logic eludes me. I know it's all Bush's fault, try blaming the dems who controled the congress from 01-2007 until 01-2011, look at unemployment in 12-06 4.6% look at the stock market and housing market. Don't believe what the media tells you go to the govt. department and get the report form the agency's themselves. Not as rosey a picture but a lot more accurate.

    November 26, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. cransten modevil

    You voted for Obama, you will be to blame

    November 26, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. JohnRJohnson

    After four straight years of Republican propaganda proclaiming how terrible things are, it is no surprise that people feel less optimistic. They also feel less optimistic because right-wing members of Congress do not seem to have paid any attention to the recent election results, as they continue to talk obstructionism and pledge to continue refusing to compromise on any issue. A gridlocked government is nothing to be happy about.

    November 26, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Mike in SA

    "Americans are worried about the fiscal cliff but have spent their way into the biggest black Friday weekend in history. Go figure." – @mypitts

    Nobody believes that sales actually jumped by 13% year over year. Wall Street sure doesn't. Were that number true the Dow would have sky-rocketed today.

    November 26, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. DWO

    Really? United we Stand, Divided We Fall and we are falling faaast...

    November 26, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. klmdia

    Dean, That would be stagflation.

    November 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Casey

    Come on, CNN. What are you doing here? Let's figure how we are going to make a strong country, and is it going to come from gargantuan news outlets making sure everyone knows that everyone else is not feeling good? It's like you're campaigning for people to feel terrible. I've stopped watching your television station and I'm about to quit reading your website. Aspire to be more than what you are.

    November 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Nietodarwin

    Just think where we could be if the American Taliban hadn't gotten control of the House and screamed "Abortion, abortion, abortion" EVERY TIME The President tried to get a jobs bill passed. Just think of where we could be if the friggin Talibangelicals in the House hadn't vote 33 times to repeal Obamacare. The economy is improving, repubretards are backing off on their SICKO pledge to Grover Norquist. We will get rid of these right wing xstian "wrong" *&^$%&^* es in the House in 2014, and the GOP as we no it today will CEASE TO EXIST. Maybe by 2020 the GOP can reform, kick out the mentally ill American Taliban that is the relgious xstian "wrong" and become a real political party again.

    November 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Aaron000

    Another Flawed poll.
    I'm sick of polls

    November 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. TX Guy

    After the crash in 2008, I would never imagine that we will recover that fast. It is not done yet, but the progress is above my expectation.

    November 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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