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. nobody

    This comes as a surprise? Does anyone know a politician they would trust with their wallet?

    March 18, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Big Al

    Only Sarah Palin can restore the United States to greatness. Vote Palin-Bachman in 2016.

    March 18, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. TooMuch

    Man, I'm an independent and can't believe all the racist white bashing that is going on here. The Dem/Lib party is the so called "tolerant party", I don't think so. I think you need to stop and look at your own hypocrisy, it discredits all of you. I’m white, living in a red state and married to a wonderful half black and half white lady. So what now, are you going to now string us up for being white? Well let’s dance then “tolerant“ crew!

    March 18, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. philojazz

    Hey, GOP, can you have Mitt Romney run again in 2016? What the heck, it might work, right? (Since you don't seem to have any other new ideas, I figured you just might go for it.)

    March 18, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. tired of this debate

    Its funny how bibleverse1 seems to blame the GOP and say that they keep on yelling that Obama is wrong. I guess he.she does not watch Obamas speeches where he continuously blames the GOP for not agreeing with his every idea. Blame goes on both sides bibleverse1 and its high time both parties stop placing the blame on each other and actually work together for the common good of the people.

    March 18, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. John

    Obama and Carter are the worst presidents in recent memory. They are very similar and just as inept.

    March 18, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. PatheticCNN

    Why CNN is so obsessed with Obama & his Approval rating by thrasing GOP all the time.

    March 18, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. chris

    So GOP and Dems have similar unfavorable ratings...yet CNN is focusing on the GOP...interesting.

    March 18, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Tank Manhammer

    What a shocking story. People are sick of the government. It's like they keep forgetting that they actually have the power to make change simply by voting.

    March 18, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Aaron

    It's because of the way he dances around the drone issue. Rand Paul makes the GOP look good after his filibuster. Seems the powers that really control our government are moving back to GOP puppets so that they can make us think there is really a democracy going on here.

    March 18, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. tullymd

    I don't approve of the American voter. It was those people who put in office those whom they disapprove. And they do it consistently. Foolish people. Hopelessly divided country.

    March 18, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Michaela

    It takes work to have a lower approval rating than Obama. Looking at you Congress, GOP

    March 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. SB1790

    Distance yourself from the Tea Party, leave abortion alone and support marriage equality and I might be inclined to listen to what you have to say. I don't care to be preached at and have Biblical scriptures quoted to me as a rational for some argument. Also, you might want to pay just a little bit of attention to the new up and coming voting generation. While I'm on my rant, how about not being the party of the extremely paranoid? In the South, the biggest GOP supporters are either fairly well off old white people (I'm white by the way) or inbred white trash who have no clue what they're actually talking about. The really poor whites who support the GOP think, for some odd reason, that Hispanic immigrants are affiliated with Muslims. So, excuse me for not really wanting to join that bandwagon.

    The Democrats, while supporting more civil liberties in some areas, are getting just as bad but in the opposite direction.

    What happened to the party of moderates? Those guys get no press and no support anymore. If Mitt Romney is the best you've got, you really need to reassess things for sure. It was like watching a stale piece of toast during the whole campaign. Ryan should have just come on stage, raised up his shirt, showed his abs, maybe flexed and got that whole thing over with. It would have been a lot better than the empty chair stunt.

    March 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Jakell

    The Republican Party base is too extreme, but so is the Democratic Party base too extreme. The Democrats just cover it up better. Both parties are in the process of purging their moderates. The way Obama and Congress are conducting themselves because of the extreme positions taken by the parties means that the problems are only going to get worse and nothing will be done about them.

    March 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Josh

    The cover picture screams "Don't wanna be, Obama-self..."

    March 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Jneuy

    The daily anti conservative report from CNN. What is the Presidents sweet spot, spending my money and catering to lazy people ? Why is the President at 50%.? Because every black supports him no matter what because he is black. Even though black unemployment is twice the white %. Also every gay switched over because he flipped to get votes. Both parties are a joke that tricks the sheep into thinking their side is better. All the while both sides dont care able the public. The both only care about votes

    March 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. bannister

    Benjamin – What do you mean by "extreme policies in immigration" – George Bush and the GOP allowed 12 MILLION illegal aliens to simply walk into the country over the 8 years of his presidency!

    At the height of America's "Golden Age of Immigration" in the early 20th Century, America let in 250,000 legal immigrants every single year, the most generous of any nation. Today, we let in 1 MILLION legal immigrants per year PLUS another 1 Million ILLEGAL immigrants for a total of 2 million every year!!!

    To call the GOP "extreme" on immigration is absolutely laughable, America lets in more immigrants than all other nations of the world COMBINED! The GOP has called only for very moderate, reasonable enforcement of the border! And 70% the American people of BOTH parties agree that immigration is out of control!

    I don't care which party does it, but we need to stop the flow of immigrants before our wages plummet even further and out social safety nets break!

    March 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Daniel

    His approval rating have been falling for years, moron.

    March 18, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. lerianis

    Ignore the numbers on Obama, people. They are only talking, by and large, with the voting public. Almost 2/3rds of Americans do NOT vote so they aren't getting proper and reliable numbers.

    March 18, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Howard

    The GOP's approval rating appears to echo the percentage of the population demographic it represents; mostly white and mostly male. It is a party that believes that if it has any power it must use that power by any means to maintain its power. This is because on its own merits the GOP represents a shrinking demographic and it refuses to recognise that its governing idiologies are very stale and most importantly very hypocritical.

    March 18, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. Old guy

    I was a republican my whole life until Bush senior choose that idiot Dan Quayle as a running mate. It so disgusted me I went down the next day and changed parties. I don't love the Democratic party but the republican party of old which focused on what I call "social capitalism" where we need to help people but in a fiscally responsible way has disappeared. Instead it's a party of old white people bitter about loosing the demographic majority that thinks everyone but themselves is living off the government. As a result, they have lost all compassion, any sense of how to govern by compromising and the unique ability of putting forward incredibly stupid and uneducated candidates whose viewpoints constantly tell me I made the right decision. It would be nice to have the Grand Ole Party back so I'd could return to it and it's beliefs.

    March 18, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Joe

    I am tried of both parties also. They are both killing this country. It's time for an alternative party to come together. One that will focus on this country. Focus on paying down the debt before we go bankrupt. I for one think since so many people have lost their pensions no politician deserves a pension. Lets cut pensions for all politicians past present and future. They have all destroyed this country and don't deserve any tax payer money for what they have done!

    March 18, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    This is textbook false equivalence reporting. They could use this in a "journalism" class. "OMG can't report negatives about one without negatives about the other!!!!"

    March 18, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. James

    Owe-bama is basically guaranteeing that we will have control of the house, senate, and Presidency in 2016... Keep it up, owe-bama. You are the best player on OUR TEAM!!! lmfao!!!

    Remember Fast and Furious and Benghazi!!!!! Noone died with watergate!

    March 18, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Johnny

    I wonder how much everyone will care about the party that doesn't cater to "...immigration, women, gay rights..." (issues that naively won Obama the election) when our currency fails and economy and lifestyle completely fall apart. Not that the GOP is not part of the problem, they are, but at least more of them are focused on real life financial problems then on issues that at this point in time are irrelevant in the saving of our country.

    March 18, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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