March 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
1 year 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. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ----------------------------
    In other words, more people see Republicans as obstructionists than those who see Obama as a supplicant.

    March 18, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    I don't care what the gop numbers are in citing against them for the rest of my life,make them pat for their vote rigging and obstruction !!!!

    March 18, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Nothing new here.....

    March 18, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Melissa

    the GOP needs to worry. Obama is not running fo reelectoon they are

    March 18, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. MN Bob

    Besides the "stuffy old men", you'd have to add at least a few "wacky women". Sarah and Michelle seem to be in the same mold.

    March 18, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Thomas

    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."

    How much did that survey cost ? And now with Rand Paul and Marco Rubio , they have stuffy not so old men.

    March 18, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Jack 2

    Just shows we need a new party. However, seeing the GOP as stuffy old men is completly wrong and shows they are disinformed or uninformed.

    March 18, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. jon

    I sure hope no one spent too much time or money on this study. I could have told you all this info for free.

    March 18, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. 4JULY1776

    Let me get this straight.....so when there isn't enough money in the budget to fund everything, the first thing the Obama administration cuts is the air traffic controllers and the border patrol agents?

    But the welfare handouts and food stamp handouts remain fully funded?

    Why is it that the Democratic Party puts people who actually WORK in this country in line behind the people who do NOT work?

    March 18, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    GOP 54% unfavorable.
    Dems 48%
    6% more for GOP. But millions and millions of people have an unfavorable view of each party.....

    Where is there a party that can actually get something done, and isn't just lining their pockets while prolonging all problems possible...

    March 18, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Tiz

    Obama's numbers will only fall......I doubt they will ever go up....

    March 18, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Kurt

    The GOP is on a suicide mission. They don't care if they die, as long as there's a chance they can hurt Obama.

    March 18, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Christopher Riess

    The GOP will remain inconsequential regardless of how many times they try to "Change the Message". They were the party that brought us Palin and Bachman and the Tea Party. Decent, normal Americans will never forgive them for that.

    March 18, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Doesn't matter

    I wish we did something in America other than complain and fight. I can't wait to move to an actual developed first world country some day.

    March 18, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Joe The Plumber

    Hard to believe Palin's numbers are that high. Must be low information voters.

    March 18, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Raymond

    This article is proof that we need a third party.

    March 18, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Dick Wiggle

    What I am failing to understand is why people think that the GOP is out of touch. The DFL is the party that is trying to protect a social security system from the 1930's, and educational system from the industrial revolution and a welfare system from the 1950's. How is then that the DFL is not considered the party of the past. Socially you could also argue that the DFL supports a system that infringes on the rights of individuals far more than the GOP as well.

    March 18, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. DARNELL

    Both parties are killing the middle class while stuffing their own pockets. And Americans still don't see this?

    March 18, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Dick Wiggle

    The government cannot be all things to all people. Government has forgotten this and needs to stop trying to accomplish this

    March 18, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Seth Hill

    "percent , three in ten, two-thirds." Where in journalism school did they teach writers to always mix up fractions and percentages like this? If they listed everything as a percent, that would be much easier on us poor readers.

    March 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. jc vance

    Not pretty numbers for either side.

    March 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. ellid

    @4July1776 – Uh, hate to tell you this, but a) hundreds of thousands of people will see their benefits cut, and b) the sequester is only beginning. And oh yes – the REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED HOUSE forced this deal on the President nearly two years ago, then refused any and all offers to ameliorate it.

    Seriously. Do a little research that doesn't come from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck.

    March 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. kurtinco

    Thank goodness a new poll is available. I needed someone to tell me how I am supposed to feel about the president and congress this month. I was getting so desperate, I almost formed my own opinion without knowing first what percentile I would fit into. Can you believe that??!!??!!

    March 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Joe The Plumber

    Stuff old white men and wacked out women.

    March 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. 4JULY1776

    The Democrats are popular now because of all the handouts.....welfare, food stamps, medicaid, section 8 housing, and now Obama- iPhones.

    But as Margaret thatchers once said......Socialism is great, until you run out of other people's money to spend.

    March 18, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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