March 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: GOP underwater; Obama approval down

Washington (CNN) - A new national survey confirms what a months long, top-to-bottom Republican Party review finds as well: That the GOP "is out of touch" and seen as the party of "stuffy old men."

A CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that President Barack Obama's job approval rating has dipped below 50% for the first time since September, with half of the public saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House. And it appears that the president's stand on the issues and the glaring spotlight in recent months on fiscal and budget issues, never Obama's sweet spot, are contributing to the drop in his overall numbers.

According to the poll, 54% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, with less than three in ten saying they view the GOP in a favorable light. The poll's Monday release came on the same day that the Republican National Committee released a major review of their performance in the 2012 elections, and how to fix what went wrong.

"The Democrats are not overwhelmingly popular - 46% of Americans have a favorable view of the Democrats, compared to 48% with an unfavorable view - but in a two-party system, you only need to be more popular than your opponent to have an advantage," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Unfavorable views of the GOP extend into nearly every other major demographic," adds Holland. "The Republican Party's unfavorable rating is over 50% among men, women, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, and just about every region of the country besides the South, where the GOP can manage no better than a 45%-45% tie on the question."

Just over two-thirds of those questioned in the survey say the Republican Party favors the rich and nearly half think the GOP's policies are too extreme.

While the Republican Party's numbers are nothing to celebrate, it's not as if the president can brag about his polls. Forty-seven percent say they approve of the job Obama's doing in office, down eight points since the start of the year, with 50% saying they disapprove. That's up seven points from January and it's the highest that number has been in over a year. The 47% approval rating in the CNN poll is in line with recent numbers from surveys from other news organizations.

The poll finds the expected partisan divide, with Democrats overwhelmingly approving of the president and Republicans overwhelmingly disapproving, and Obama at 41% approval – 53% disapproval among independent voters.

By a 57%-42% margin, the public says Obama has the personal qualities a president should have.

"Americans still respond positively to the president's personal characteristics - it's his stands on the issues that they disagree with," says Holland. "Fewer than a third approve of how the president is handling the government's budget and fiscal policies, and the White House's 'charm offensive' has not registered with the American public."

Fifty-six percent say Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the Republicans in Congress. Not great, but less than seven in ten who feel that the Republicans are not doing enough to cooperate with Obama.

Only 31% say they approve of how the president's handling the budget and fiscal policy. Again, nothing to brag about but higher than the 19% who give the Republicans in Congress a thumbs up on the issue. And Americans are divided on whether the White House or congressional Republicans has the better budget and fiscal policies.

As for the forced federal spending cuts, which started kicking in at the beginning of the month, six in ten said the cuts were having a great deal or some effect on the nation's economy, and 35% said the cuts were having a great deal or some effect on their own financial situation.

The poll also has new favorable ratings on some Republicans in the news. Mitt Romney stands at 41% favorable and 52% unfavorable, close to his numbers in mid November, soon after the 2012 GOP presidential nominee lost the November election to Obama. The previous GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, stands at 46%-42%. But it's a different story for his running mate in 2008. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who got a very warm reception this past weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, has a 34% favorable rating and a 58% unfavorable rating.

The poll was conducted March 15-17 for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Polls • President Obama • Republicans • RNC
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. massoud

    47 % approval rating, just wait until the end of Obuma's 2nd term. Obuma supporters will wish his approval rating was that high but he wont care for his goal to bankrupt America will be near completion.

    March 18, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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