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. roscoe00

    We have to be so grateful, to have Obama, Biden. More taxes, more spending, more deficit, more national debt, bigger government. The party of YES to more unemployment.

    November 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. wonfish

    Four years ago we didn't know how bad Bush left the state of the economy. The President couldn't tell us how bad it was or else it would it have become even worse. (Nothing like bad news to sink the Market and people's spending habits.)

    November 26, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Who Cares

    This whole article is silly. CNN seams bitter their choice did not win. Who cares? Not me

    November 26, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. bigstrike

    This article should be of no surprise. Everyone (over 50%) who are getting freebees from uncle sam are less optimistic
    because they know their gravey train is not sustainable.

    November 26, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Sagebrush Shorty

    Another 4 years of Obama and people are less optimistic. No kidding!

    November 26, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Lardeau

    His is the most difficult job in the world. He does it very well. He comes across nicely - no arrogance - no B.S. - very sincere and caring - seemingly intelligent. He's what I call a ' Classy Guy '. However he is actually powerless to turn this economy around because Bernanke is 'da man in charge. And he runs the country in favor of his jolly bankermen. HE and his Merry Men are the ones responsible for grinding the Country down to where it is to-day - MIRED IN DEBT at all levels. NONE of our Politicians except Ron Paul has even tried to stand up against him.

    November 26, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. cedar rapids

    '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. '

    Oh enough of the hyperbole please. Guess what, the US will still be here in 4 years, it really will, honest. Jeez, its like dealing with kids.

    November 26, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. mypitts2

    vinster76: "we are only a couple weeks out of the election, America did you need to have another couple weeks to figure out you were less optimistic"

    Two points: First, the story said very high up that Obama gets a thumbs-up on the job he's doing.
    Second: Just b/c America's are not optimistic overall does not mean they would think Romney would make things better. You are using a common flaw in logic. Many Americans understand that the overall economy is at least in part dictated by forces beyond a president's control, such as say, what's happening in Europe.

    November 26, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Barry Coates

    We didn't hire Obama to fix anything. We hired him to make history.

    November 26, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Booger

    It was accomplished with MIND CONTROL!

    November 26, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. John

    You're in the jungle baby, you're going to die...GnR.

    November 26, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. SJH

    I wonder if Romney had of won how much optimism there would be in this country right now?

    November 26, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Adam Dorfman

    another useless poll by CNN

    November 26, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Brian Wickremasinghe-Woodland Hills

    Was it Hobson's choice ?

    November 26, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Captain

    NOTHING much will change until they arrest the Bush WH gang who did 9/11 (with Silverstien, Neten-yahoo, etc), and still run the country into the ground behind the scenes. (See Veterans Today for details). Bushs sabatoged Carter's preidency, complicit in JFK, etc. So, essentially, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, actor Regan ("I don't know how you could do this job if you weren't an actor." – RR), Senior, Junior were all puppets of the Bush dynasty. Time to arrest them and end it.

    November 26, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Briyani

    C N N means China News Network.....The network is Chinese owned...

    November 26, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Pan3

    Who cares! I am SO sick of polls...

    November 26, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. John

    Many forget that the media is driven by ratings. When they through bait out into the water and reel you in their ratings go up. CNN is just chumming the waters. Go to Gallup Polls and look up the polls on financial optimism and you will see that the percentage of those that feel that the economy is better has been on a steady increase since Obama's first election and the percentages of those optimistic exceed those that are pessimistic. You can also look up the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index and that too has been on a steady increase since Obama's election (though it still has a way to go before it reaches the same levels as the 90s). These polls/indexes follow the state of the economy and less by which president is elected (its cyclical). Stop feeding on the chum bait and push back on CNN or any other news media that participates in the same practice. Shame on CNN

    November 26, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    I'm totally optimistic about the president, it's the Congress he's working with that gives me great cause for concern. Maybe in 2014 we can get rid of most of the troublemakers.

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

    'Ali Reza -I'm very optimistic. Just look at all the facts'

    Make your mind up, You start off saying look at the facts and the proceed to post nonsense and bull.
    For example: you think the Iranian protestors were not Muslims? really?
    And what Islamic schools did he go to? He went to one school in Indonesia for about 2 years where the majority of students were Muslim but was a secular, not religious school. He also went to a catholic school during his time there as well but hey, ignore that.
    And since when does a person's name dictate religion? and when did he have any choice in what he was called? bizarre.

    November 26, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. It all adds up!

    Obama can't do it all by himself people....He was not elected King...Want for things to get better get behind him and get louder make your voice heard. Might does not always mean it is right. Even a majority can be wrong but what we need is a discussion across America. We need to hear arguements for growth. The Government will have money when the people have money. The attack against the American worker must be thwarted. The GOP has been Pro Business not Pro worker. We all need to make money....period! The American Workers are the Job Creators in a healthy economy...

    November 26, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Obama is a liar

    Hey, let's go back to what Clinton did to get a balanced budget. WHOOPS that was cutting taxes.

    November 26, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. tv22

    Really? Some of you are still asking questions about polling techniques after the election vindicated mainstream polling? You only need a small sample to assess opinion, there is a margin of error associated. If you poll any other group precisely the same way, the results would fall into the margin of error a very high percentage of the time.

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

    So how did he win again??? Oh that is right.....the same people that got their free Obama phones and everything else for free. How can these people complain right? They do not have to worry about paying for health insurance, groceries, paying for rent. These are the people that came out of the woodwork and voted for him because they knew Romney would take it away at some point. That is why Romney was pushing for jobs.The would solve so many problems in this country right now. Oh and what did Obama want again....oh yeah change! Still waiting....

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

    You didn't call me, the president is the worst. I can't believe four more years of having to listen to that idiot.

    November 26, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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