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. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Grover Norquist is the "Defacto Leader" of the Republican party and because he is he has threatened to get rid of all Republicans that are dropping his pledge which means voters don't count. We don't stand for that kind of mess in the Democrat party and Republican voters aren't going for it in 2013 or 2016 but right now I'm sooo happy President Obama is the one we can trust.

    November 26, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Unknown

    Yet a majority still support him, and it was proven the GOP does not have a better alternative as shown during the election.

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

    The majority of Americans also feed on 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 clueless to influence. So, CNN... what's your point?

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

    Socialists don't usually incite much optimism among the American people, given what we've seen happen to every other country that's tried to "spread the wealth around"

    November 26, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. billy bob

    HUH!?! People are less optimistic with Obama than 4 years ago? How did he get reelected then? I voted. I watched how many people voted for him and how many electoral College Votes he received. I guess they should have run this poll prior to the election. Only 52% are happy with him, but he won the re-election with a huge lead. It doesn't add up mathematically unless people that are not happy with him voted for him. Go Figure!

    November 26, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. california girl

    As president, am sure Obama is doing the best he could to better America. Am sure he continues to work hard and with sincerity; however, let us all be realistic...the problems facing America (as well as the whole world) cannot be resolved overnight. Let's be all optimistic that better days are ahead...for the future of our children. Let us continue to pray our God to bless the United States of America.

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

    How is this Breaking News exactly? This is a Poll conducted by this very media outlet. Can we have actual news for once?

    Please don't continue to follow in Faux News's footsteps.

    November 26, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. What?

    Thank the GOP and Congress for that!!!

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

    Well, I'm no more or less optimistic than I was before. Things are going well for me and mines.

    As for the country, I am less optimistic that anything will get done. The climate in DC needs change. Republicans are starting to come around. Democrats seem to be open. But lets see how long the niceties last.

    November 26, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Guest

    Really? Thanks CNN for keeping us up to date. Apparently, the election didn't show that. Did it? I guess the gift takers are not part of the poll.

    November 26, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. logic hurts

    It doesn't matter. It's out of Obamas hands. Lobbying, bribes, and corporate loop holes have ruined this country. Both sides are to blame. This country will never fully recover, and continue to slide in education, PHD graduation, scientist graduation, standard of living and an increasingly worse Gini Coefficient. Thank the baby boomers. I'm glad your generation is dying off.

    November 26, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. pcalif

    This is breaking Republican based news!!! We just saw the biggest Black Friday sales event ever and Americans are just not optimistic?? Come on CNN!!!

    November 26, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. texasnotea

    Why even give this guy an interview? Why even give him recognition? Just say bye! And take the palin nuts with you when you go!

    November 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. John American

    Seriously?? I wonder why? Amercian is more divided along social issues than anytime since the Civil War. We have lost track of what's important in this county...hard work, doing better by ourselves and our neighbors, and leaving a better country for our children than what was left for us.

    When we elect politicians that forget that they serve at our pleasure, and instead serve to they're own pleasures we are doomed to have the results plaguing our country.

    Its time for another American Revolution....a complete 360 degree change in how we look at ourselves, govern ourselves, and act in the best interest of ourselves.

    November 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. RSG

    Let me get this straight, you approve the job performance of the guy who is our supposed 'leader', you re-elect him, and have dismal outlook on your future. Let me guess... oh that's right, it's the republican's fault. Hahaha. Well, if Obama is our 'leader', when is he going to start leading and quit blaming everyone else.. Leaders are... well... leaders. Obama is not a leader... never has been... he's a 'Blamer". It their fault, it's his fault, it's her fault, Republicans, Tea Party people.. yeash.. OK, he won..... now start leading!

    November 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. scamtannehill

    Enough with polls CNN none of those election polls you hammered us with came close to your predictione. Spend more time reporting the news and less time creating it. That's what the FOX Phony's do !

    November 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. chuck

    funny how the president can win in both electorial and popular votes. can you people not count? if over half of the country wants him out then why didnt over half of the country vote him out? these polls are not only pointless but insulting to anyone even halfway intelligent. stop trying to stir up the people by putting this garbage out. maybe a little professionalism would help.

    November 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. nibiro

    obama will finish off america -

    November 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. T. Storm

    Ya think?... Less optimistic? I saw that a loooong time ago. Well considering we have a gov't that wants to give everything away, without a way to pay for it & massively in debt without looking for any way to avoid the coming fall,.... Go figure why people are less optimistic.... It isn't rocket science,.... unless you just don't want to face the facts.

    November 26, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. swin - Pittsburgh

    I guess that those 56% who think things will be better just figure that a $16 trillion (and counting) national debt will just magically go away.

    November 26, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Rich Fielder

    Because your polls have been so accurate in the past CNN.

    November 26, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Mike

    And what the American people also dont understand is they might as well kiss full-time goodye....SO LONG! What America voted for was part-time work from here on out because no business will every hire full-time again on count of Odumbocare. Mark my words America will not be happy once this goes into affect and see every business either layoff or keep staff under 50 employees and around 28 hrs part-time status. So, you done good America....done good. Wait until you have too pay your healthcare, living expenses, car insurance....etc. on part-time pay. Yep, you done good America.

    November 26, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Tammy

    30 years of trickle down, tax cuts for the rich, low wage jobs, wars and the list goes on. I don't think we can take much more. Republicans need to either help or sense they aren't doing anything anyway leave. We want OUR country back. I will not vote for a republican because of their greed. I really don't care about Grover or his bunch of nuts.

    November 26, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Jake Pica

    wowStatisticsAbusedAgain - Very well said. Bravo.

    November 26, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Spence

    President Obama is the common denominator. Its a shame America can be less optimistic when the man at the head of this country IS the problem. Oh well, some lessons are best learned the hard way. It will be interesting to see how many people who voted for Obama 2012 are going to be berating him in 2016..

    November 26, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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