Forced spending cuts cutting into Obama's numbers?
March 5th, 2013
02:11 PM ET
1 year ago

Forced spending cuts cutting into Obama's numbers?

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's approval rating appears to be edging down.

A new CNN Poll of Polls, which averages the most recent non-partisan, live operator, national surveys on the president's approval rating, puts Obama's approval at 48% approval, with 45% saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House. That 48% approval rating is down four points from a CNN Polls of Polls from mid-February which had the president at 52%.

But even while the president's approval appears to be dipping, his numbers are still way above where Congress, and the Republican Party, are registering in the minds of Americans.

The new average of the president's approval rating comes as another national poll indicates a decline in Obama's advantage over Republicans in Congress when it comes to who's to blame for the failure to avert the forced federal spending cuts. And according to that survey, by CBS News, a majority now say they will be affected by the cuts, known inside the Beltway as the sequester.

"Washington sure isn't making it easier," the president said Friday, speaking to reporters hours before the forced spending cuts started to take effect. And the new polling suggests that Americans agree and may be taking some of their frustrations out on the president.

The new CNN Polls of Polls, compiled and released Tuesday, is an average of three surveys conducted in the last week and a half, leading up to and just after the start of the forced spending cuts. During this period there was an explosion of news regarding the forced spending cuts. The surveys included in the average are Gallup daily tracking poll (March 2-4); Fox News (Feb. 25-27) and NBC News/Wall Street Journal (Feb. 21-24).

The CNN Poll of Polls from mid-February came during a period when there were less headlines regarding the forced spending cuts. The poll averaged four mostly different surveys: Gallup daily tracking poll (Feb. 17-20); Bloomberg (Feb. 15-18); Pew Research/USA Today (Feb. 13-18); and American Research Group (Feb. 17-20).

So why the drop?

It appears to be mostly from Gallup's Daily Tracking Poll, which had the president at or slightly above 50% from mid-January until this past weekend, when his numbers dropped four points in one day (right as the force spending cuts took affect). Gallup's latest number has the president's approval rating slightly rebounding to 49%. The new CNN Poll of Poll average also includes Fox News (46%) and NBC/WSJ (50%). The previous CNN Poll of Polls from mid-February included earlier surveys which mostly had the president at or above 50%: Bloomberg (55%); Pew/USA Today (51%); Gallup Daily Tracking (51%) and ARG (49%).

"A few days ago, the Gallup tracking poll dropped four points overnight, and now is up three points in a single day. It's possible that this is due to dramatic fluctuations in public opinion, but it's more likely that it's the result of an inherent problem with all tracking polls," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"A close reading of the numbers suggests that Gallup got an extremely low number for Obama on March 1 that was extremely different than the one-night results on every other day of the week. If we ignore the three-day averages that include March 1, we see Obama at 51% late last week and at 49% now - fairly stable results that suggest a small decline rather than the nosedive that appeared to be in progress only a day ago. This is a good indication of the pitfalls inherent in any tracking poll methodology."

The approval rating numbers came up in Tuesday's press briefing at the White House, with Press Secretary Jay Carney warning of "the folly of chasing one poll's results and making grand conclusions about it."

Besides the president's approval rating, the new CBS survey has an interesting finding on the blame game over the forced spending cuts. According to the poll, 38% said they would place more blame on the GOP in Congress over the failure to avert the cuts, with 33% saying they'd point more fingers at the president and Democrats in Congress, and nearly one in five saying both sides deserve equal blame. The president's five point advantage over congressional Republicans on the blame game is down from a 13 point advantage he held in a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey conducted late last month.

The new CBS poll also indicates that a majority (53%) say they'll be affected by the forced spending cuts. That level is higher than in previous surveys from other organizations.

While the president's poll numbers are edging down, he would still have a long way to go to be in the company of Congress. The approval rating for Congress was in the mid-teens in national surveys from Gallup, CBS, and Fox conducted last month. And the approval ratings for Republicans in Congress are about 10-15 points lower than their Democratic counterparts.

And a recent Pew Research Center poll indicated that a majority of Americans said the GOP was out of touch and too extreme in its positions.


Filed under: CNN Poll of polls • Debt • Deficit • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. PatheticCNN

    President Obama's response to CNN Jessica Yellin and other reporters on Friday after Sequester Meeting Q&A session exposed how unprepared Obama was to answer some key basic questions. He truly lacks Leadership.

    March 5, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "It appears to be mostly from Gallup's Daily Tracking Poll"

    One of the least accurate pollsters in the country. I'll be enjoying my grain of salt now.

    March 5, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. muchthunder..little rain

    of course it was his idea..

    March 5, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. The Mayor of Medinah

    I give it a big zero

    March 5, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. antares201

    Gallup polls were proven unreliable when they had Romney way ahead of Obama in the final days of the election, why pay attention to anything they say now?

    March 5, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. idb

    Obama is making a mess of things and has been doing so for four years. I guess the slower voters are just now picking up on that.

    March 5, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    People are going to have to face the truth..........they were giving high marks for HAND OUTS, and not performance. Now we see what happens when performance has to be demonstrated, in lieu of hand outs.

    March 5, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. antares201

    The GOP will OWN these sequester cuts, not President Obama. The GOP is calling this a "win" for them and after the public really starts to hurt and recognize who pushed these cuts, it's not going to be pretty for the right.

    March 5, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Ind.

    Why are democrats so upset about Obama's sequester idea? I actually agree with him on this one.

    March 5, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Hold Congress responsible. Very reprehensible congress in history.

    March 5, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. denny

    Are we supposed to be feeling more hardship than we have in the last several years? I don't feel it. Keep cutting.

    March 5, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Ind.

    Congress = The House and Senate. Reid is the biggest problem in congress.

    March 5, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. RomneyWho

    Unbelievable, the GOP is up in america's face, openly sabotaging this economy and have been for the last 12 or so years. The black guy who the majority voted for again to be our standing president and leader to continue to bring this country back from the brink of it's own self inflicted wound. Old antiquated white men continue their assault on this president, still refuses to compromise, continue to sabotage and protect the rich, their puppet masters and the black guy who is wiser, more knowledgeable and evenhanded and seem to be besting them at every turn, get's the blame. . . . :(

    March 5, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    PatheticCNN wrote:

    President Obama's response to CNN Jessica Yellin and other reporters on Friday after Sequester Meeting Q&A session exposed how unprepared Obama was to answer some key basic questions. He truly lacks Leadership.
    -----------------
    Would you mind sharing with us which question(s) he failed to answer? Throwing out baseless accusations gets you nowhere.

    March 5, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. dee128floyd

    How could anyone think the President is doing a bad job?? From day one of his election the first time the republicans made the statement that they would say NO to any and everything the President proposed. The people saw this and rose up as the Pres. fought for them and the Republicans have not ceased fire on him. God knows that man has worked himself gray to help the people, now what is wrong with the people standing up for him?? They need to get that house speaker out and replace him with someone who can be for the people.

    March 5, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Borderless

    Obama's glue sniffing followers continue to give him a pass even though veteren reporters have demonstrated that: A) The sequester was his idea and B) It was his pathetically weak leadership that lead to it.

    Obama is the worst president we ever had. He continues to be popular and elude accountability for the same reason Kim Kardashian still has a show. People aren't concerned with substance. If you know how to package and sell manure, people will buy it and call it manna.

    March 5, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Former Republican

    Anyone with 1/3 of a brain knows that Cantor and Ryan are behind this stunt.

    March 5, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The President will rise above this mess with dignity while the GOP will once again pile out of the klown kar!

    March 5, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. ucjb

    "Pew Research Center poll indicated that a majority of Americans said the GOP was out of touch and too extreme in its positions." That "majority of Americans" will be the ones standing in soup lines because they can't see the forest for the trees.

    March 5, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    Repubs control the House; the Senate hasn't been able to vote on the two budgets that have already been presented because Repub Senators filibustered both times.

    Do the math ... the only numbers that should be falling are approval numbers for all the Repub yahoos who need to be sent packing in 2014.

    March 5, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    In the midst of all this, you have Repub Senator Murkowsi threatening to block the nomination of President Obama's choice for Secretary of the Interior – because she wants a gravel road to be built in the Alaskan boondocks.

    This is the GOP at its finest: bullying, blackmailing, obstructing like the bunch of brats they are, putting party ahead of country.

    March 5, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Gonzo

    Keep cutting!! EVERYBODY knows we have to cut, and cut BIG!! Of course, nobody wants their program to get cut. So, the sequester is the only way this country will ever cut!! The stock market is going through the roof, eh? No surprise.

    March 5, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Guest

    The pres is standing by and watching as federal workers take the brunt of his administrations wasteful spending and policies. Meanwhile, all he wants is more tax dollars from workers pockets to fund low priority, liberal feel good agenda items that are wrong for the country, yet, he will completly ignore the fraud and waste.

    March 5, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Mel

    If the sequester is supposed to be so toxic to the economy, then why did the Dow Jones Industrial Average today exceed its previous, all-time record that was previously set in October 2007? If the smart money thought the U.S. economy was going to tank, the stock market would be trending down, not up.

    March 5, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Michele

    This makes me soooo mad! Congress continues to get a salary while Americans suffer. They get paid for doing NOTHING! I am looking forward to voting in 2014. Maybe then they will listen to 'We The People'.

    March 5, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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