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. Jack

    tez07, the poll is not silly, it was taken following this year's election just as the previous poll was taken after the 2008 election. Since both polls were taken at roughly the same time after the election, the 20% drop in those who think we'll be better off is relevant, and an accurate enough picture of those sentiments. Assuming equal sampling across party affiliation, it has nothing to do with who voted for Obama or who didn't.

    November 26, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. bibleverse1

    I bet on America and Americans every time.

    November 26, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Allan

    Look at the headline and pic of president clapping. We have what we have now, we have spoken as the people. God help us all...................

    November 26, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Al Ford

    A sample of just over 1000 people? Are they kidding? 1000 people to represent the USA?

    November 26, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Wes

    makes sense.. we have a president who, under complete democratic party control, passed a bill the majority of Americans don't approve of...And proceeded to increase the National Debt to epic proportions while managing to pass the blame on to the incompetent boob who proceeded him.. American Lemmings gleefully march away feeling confident not realizing a depression is around the corner once the bond bubble bursts...

    November 26, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Rein

    The nation's economy was in terrible shape in 2008, so moving upward was almost a given. How many people who oppose the health care act actually know what is in it? When people are asked how they feel about elements of the plan, they often like the specifics. Many conservatives who hate asking employers to contribute to covering their workers (something many businesses already do) also dislike having a minimum wage, oppose requiring that women get the same pay for the same work that male coworkers receive and believe that OSHA safety standards are intrusive "big government."

    November 26, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. linda

    I still say Obama is the WORST President we have ever had and he will bring down our country before his 4 years is over. Mitt Romney wasn't the best choice but at least he would have done a better job with our finances this (fill in the blank), something that is really needed right now.

    November 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Kay

    People can find the money for the things they WANT but then can't find it when they NEED it. That explains the long lines at the mall. They are the people I resent my tax dollars going too.

    November 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. John Doe

    Breaking News: Most Americans are idiots!

    November 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Obama is a liar

    No kidding. When Obama plunges us into a financial cliff over 4 years of additional 5.5 Trillion in debt, people are not happy about it.

    November 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Mos

    The whole world is less optimistic than 4 years ago!

    November 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. midwest88

    How about some accountability from the voters, instead of expecting the President to solve problems of their own making.

    November 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Moab

    I am not optimistic about our country's direction and don't know many people that are optimistic. But I am about my own business & my family. Luckily half my business is out of the country in a lot of places that are growing right now. I have given up worrying about everything else. My motto is to put the blinders on and focus just on my faith, family and business. Everything else is inconsequential.

    November 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Jack- NYC

    Well of course they are less optimistic, he lied about all he said he would do in 2008. He was Bush 2.0 and we now know no matter who we vote for we will get an over-spending, government growing, Patriot Act loving, war mongering President.

    November 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Obama is a liar

    The Obama lapdogs should have though about the addional 6 TRILLION in debt Obama put on us before voting for him again.

    November 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. CB

    Less optimistic than 4 years ago? You're darned skippy I'm less optimistic. When Obama was first voted in, I believed that if this country could overcome 400 years of fixation on race and elect a Black man to the Presidency, we could surely move forward on a lot of things. Then the very next day Rush Limbaugh declared his intent was to make sure Obama's presidency failed. Then Hannity launched the "Stop Obama Express" and Micele Bachman and Boehner declared their goal was to make BHO a one-term president. So much for moving forward. After 2 1/2 years of gridlock, and the same players involved, I'm not nearly as optimistic as I was 4 years ago.

    November 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Obama is a liar

    Obama lied and our economy slowly died.

    November 26, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. JerPell

    Obama the idiot clown of a president must fail so that America can succeed....
    If Obama succeeds with his socialist agendas, America will undoubtedly fail as the great country we are and it will take years to repair the damage this buffoon and his corrupt, scandal ridden administration will do!

    November 26, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. cedar rapids

    'JS – Hmmm. the COMMUNIST News Network is surprised people are less optimistic. What a bunch of morons. Truth is- more and more and more want REVOLUTION against this socialist Kenyan and his corrupt authoritarian regime.'

    yeah, dont spout nonsense about communists and socialist kenyan and expect anyone to take you seriously.

    November 26, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. Obama is a liar

    Don't blame me, I voted for the businessman.

    November 26, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. Steve

    Every single Congressman, Senator, Governor and th President need to get OVER themsleves and begin to do the work they were hired to do. If taxes are raised and we increase revenue, thos dumb a$$es will find some way to squander it. We elect some of the most worthless imbeciles in our country.

    November 26, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Ali Reza

    I'm very optimistic. Just look at all the facts. We haven't had a budget in years. Our president hates the US. His middle name is Islamic and he went to Islamic schools. He loves all Islamic revolutions (Egypt, Libia ect) and hates to get involved in external politics if the protesters are not Islamic (Iran 2009). He wants to get rid of nuclear arms and kiss up to Russia. He hates business and wants to redistribute wealth. He believes all problems are solved by laws. He likes to appoint people rather than pass laws. What could go wrong? It's going to be the best 4 years ever!

    November 26, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. cedar rapids

    '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.'

    Except you didnt get the message because you actually believe that nonsense rhetoric you just spouted. You cant accept that people that voted Dem might actually disagree with Repub viewpoint and policies, so you make the sweeping generalization about free stuff and lazy people, but hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

    November 26, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. Hugh Jass

    The Republicans are talking exactly like Germans did in the 1930s: Democrats "secretly run everything and have their tentacles in all media and finance. They must be imprisoned for the good of our nation, and they eat babies." Decent men and women are being taught by ministers that the world is ending and their fellow Americans are devils who must be shot and killed. One of my relatives is hoarding food and buying guns because "the UN is coming to make us all slaves. Obama signed the papers to turn over our government to them." Never mind the UN is a big PTA with no army or even much leadership; they are TERRIFIED and the people scaring them are senators and governors. So, no, I don't see much hope. Apparently we are going to have to fight armed grandmothers who think they have to shoot us for Jesus before this country can get back to educating its citizens.

    November 26, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. Jonathan

    The headline is completely misleading. At the beginning of Obama's last term, our economy was hemorrhagic jobs by the hundreds of thousands each month and economic Armageddon had been all over the news for weeks. A second grader could have been elected president and 78% of people would still think things would be better in 4 years. So the pole's implication is not that people are less optimistic now, as your article implies.

    November 26, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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