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. cedar rapids

    "Hema David – I don't think I feel secure anymore of a minority black president who is looking to help his own. If this country is ruled by blacks and hispanics, all we will see is violence and all American children lacking education and learning to be lazy! I pray to God he helps Obama make right decisions, cause deep down, even black people know they shouldn't be running this country!'

    Ah a racist post disguised as a voter regretting their choice. You arent fooling anyone.

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

    The headline is completely misleading. At the beginning of Obama's last term, our economy was hemorrhaging 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 poll's implication is not that people are less optimistic now, as your article implies.

    November 26, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. livingston

    The republicans have spent the last 3 1/2 years doing everything that they could think of to tank this country. All because they hated the President. Is it any wonder that people feel that we now have an even longer way to go until recovery? Unfortunately for them, real Americans now see what they have been doing and are voting to put a stop to them. Now they are running like frightened sheep away from the likes of the Norquest fool and his supporters..

    November 26, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. JET

    This isn't the least bit surprising. There's no news here at all. Why would this blow anyones mind?

    These polls are exactly the same as they were a month ago, before the election.
    All this shows is, people were overly optimistic intially, and they put all their own hopes and aspirations into Obama, and then reality sunk in, and 76% went to 56%.

    The economy didn't recover as fast as people would have liked- the right used a lot of fear mongering tactics to make everyone think the economy was absolutely horrible, and any day the country would crash and we would all be in the street. They also used propaganda to convince people the health care bill was somehow, socialism (even though it's the farthest thing from it- medicare is far more socialist) and the country was going communist, creating even more division and fear.

    This idea that the majority of older people don't support Obama because they know history and economics better is completely flawed. Obama wins university educated voters by a large margin. Old people who vote conservative are just confused. These are people taking the largest portions of the tax dollars, voting for a party who clearly dislikes medicare and medicaid, and would love to slash it. They are also just not with the times...I mean if gay people want to get married in San Francisco, why does that bother you in Mississippi? get a life.

    If you are old, and voting republican and you use medicare, you are a total hypocrit. YOU are the biggest takers of all. Whine about a welfare queen, when you're the ones robbing the budget... not the lousy 0.05% that goes to welfare.

    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. grace

    We are not optimistic because of George Bush.

    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Vote 2012

    so what who cares! re-elected him, that's all that matters.

    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. ImIrish

    Less optimistic, yet people voted him in for 4 more years of this garbage.


    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Wilson

    The russians are saying America is turning into the United Socialist States of America, and asking how we could not have learned from their 75 years mistake.

    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. ss

    Obama is the biggest child in the know the bratty child that goes running and crying to his mother or the teacher and says, tommy hit me...I didn't do anything wrong. Obama did not lead and take responsibility in the last 4 years. Why will it be different now? Forget about 2008. The only people who still have hope are union people with pensions or die hard liberals. Good luck. I will be wearing my: "Don't look at me, I voted for Romney" t-shirt.

    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Gees Republicans, you're still sulking over your miserable defeat three weeks ago? Why don't you complain a little more about how America rejected your fantasies. Grow up or shut up.

    November 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Steve Jans

    The 53% are less optimistic. The 43% say it can't get worse and they still get their Obama phones and food stamps.

    November 26, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. Vote 2012

    Yeah whatever so what who cares we re-elected him/them that's all that matters.

    November 26, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. pl

    If people would stop talking to pollsters, there wouldn't be any polls. Think how much happier you would be.

    November 26, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Johnjon

    Now that the election is over I'm very optimistic about our future. I didn't feel that way four years ago. I voted for the president, but I was realistic about the challenges he faced, and continues to face. I really thought he wouldn't be re-elected............... the mess that George Bush created will take longer than four years to solve. Meanwhile he visit's the Home Depot in Texas to talk to his neighbors. President Obama has my full support, and I have every confidence in him. I think he'll do a great job.

    November 26, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Joe

    So how on earth did this man get reelected – this isn't making sense.

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

    Oh enough with the stupid polls already! I'm not pessimistic, in fact I'm much more optimistic than 4 years ago. Why not do a poll about how Americans feel about stupid polls and then take that research and do something productive with it?

    November 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Bermille

    And yet America still chose Obama over Romney.

    November 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. just askin

    barely any economic growth, 24 million unemployed, everybody on food stamps, government going bankrupt printing money almost as fast as they spend it, gas $4/gal, taxes going up, employers dropping healthcare, yeah, things are going great. 4 more years of joy and celebrating.

    November 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. jinx88

    Now poll the GOP run house and see what you get.

    November 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Paul

    The election is over and it is now time to hold Congress responsible. The president can only sign the bills that are brought to his desk. Time to compromise and do what's best for the country. Those that don't should be voted out. Start by giving the 98% of taxpayers a break by continuing the tax cuts. The discussion on the top 2% can be done later.

    November 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Carlos

    In response to SF...

    I love how you mention that under Bush 750K jobs were lost a month but doesn't mention this happened at the end of his second term. that on average Bush's unemployment rate over his 8 tears is actually much lower than Obama's first 4 even when you inclide the period Bush was losing 750K per month

    You also mention how the GDP dipped 9 points and dow was half what it was today. Again only at the end of his second term but you fail to also mention that the world economy was declining. But I guess that doesn't impact the US economy either.

    You also mention 9/11 but failed to state that it was under Clinton's watch that the administation failed to give the green light to send a precision attack on Bin Laden after the military knew excelty where he was and he was on both the FBI and CIA top terrorist list.

    If you want to cherry pick your facts to make your guy look good so can everyone else!

    November 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. Who Cares

    CNN Obama is the president for the next four years. Please stop doing pointless polls about how you think people feel. Let's move on please. Do people really care about the optimism right now, or about getting things done.

    November 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. David Lee Roth

    Regardless of whether you agree or not, in what way is this BS poll breaking news? In no way at all, that's what. Death by filler...

    November 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. bonita

    CNN the race is over what's with you ?????????????

    November 26, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. spent

    Of course they think he is doing a fine job......He is doing the same amount of work a those that are on the dole, such as obama. They do not know the difference.

    November 26, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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