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. Steven Posey

    By "stuffy old men" they mean "Racist Elitist old White Guys"

    March 18, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "All I hear from GOP is Obama is wrong. Angry people yelling. Tell me without yelling."

    I'm sorry, but that won't make what they're saying any less stupid. As of November 2008, they turned both the volume AND the crazy up to 11.

    March 18, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Robert

    Sounds like we need two new parties. I find the Democrats a little easier to stomach these days but when the fringes, or base, of either party get too much control things get pretty scary. What I have always longed for is a party the is fiscally conservative ( and NO the Republicans have not been fiscally conservative in a very long time) and socially liberal. I have often said that our current choices are between two parties that want to spend our money. One wants to spend it helping people and the other wants to spend it killing people. The Replblicans are both socially ignorant and fiscally terrible, and this started with Reagan.

    March 18, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. theemptyone1

    The dumb and even racist comments from liberals show that not only is the country Balkanized, no one, if not the "stuffy old white men," will ever see this country as a whole nation again. That era is over. The slow breakup is beginning.

    March 18, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Wiener Rottenkrotch

    Obama would screw up a wet dream! What has this man accomplished since he's been in office? Give me one good thing that he's done!

    March 18, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    And the bottom line: GOPers/Teatrolls read these kinds of polling results as a positive thing and proof that they're "if we're going down we're taking you with us" strategery is working. Mission accomplished.

    March 18, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. thisistrue

    I have heard people call Obama "The Liar In Chief." I think people in both parties are tired of his lying. They said they would have more respect for him if he starts telling the truth. With Obama having told so many lies why would they ever believe him if he did?

    March 18, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. theemptyone1

    In another CNN story today, the GOP was pronounced dead, or nearly. 54% disapproval means 46% approval, or near it. That isn't dead. But you can read the bombastic, racist, hopeful comments here and there and everywhere. You're talking genocide, you know?

    March 18, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Billy Bathgate

    When have you ever seen a poll that bills a particular political party's polling on equal billing (or more) with the president? More cnn bias as work here.

    The story is that the president's numbers are down. Period.

    March 18, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. JPM

    Obama has been the worst President in history from day 1. All he does is campaign. He will be happy as long as he gets to hang out with celebrities.

    March 18, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. allenwoll

    .
    If only 54% of the nation disapproves of the GoP, then we truly have become a box of rocks ! ! !
    .

    March 18, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Serge

    Both parties are pretty horrible. Repubs/Democrats, what's the difference. They each tell their target audience whatever they want to hear and then proceed to do nothing positive for the country after they are elected. They are the exact same, just with two different sales pitches. Maybe someday we will have voters that figure this scam out and start looking at candidates outside of these parties.

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

    As long as nothing gets accomplished in Washington D.C. the republicans can blame it on Obama.

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

    I WILL never vote for another fing Republicam...WOW!...I once was a teabagger, can't believe it.

    March 18, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. moose

    they all stink, period, end of story

    March 18, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. joeinalabama

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills.
    It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies.
    Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally.
    Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.
    America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    March 18, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Balls of Steel

    What a surprise.

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

    Both parties are pretty horrible. Repubs/Democrats, what's the difference. They each tell their target audience whatever they want to hear and then proceed to do nothing positive for the country after they are elected. They are the exact same, just with two different sales pitches. Maybe someday we will have voters that figure this scam out and start looking at candidates outside of these parties.

    March 18, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Bill

    Though "underwater" has no real definitions in this context, it would seem that if the GOP is "underwater" with a disapproval rating of 54 percent then Obama would also be "underwater" with a disapproval rating above 50 percent.

    March 18, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Egads

    What Jim Said

    March 18, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Jon

    And what is the solution that these brilliant political minds will come up with in order to fix their popularity problems?

    They COULD reform their platforms to make them mirror the will of the people who voted for them, but that's silly...

    The solution is to talk about their platform MORE, without making changes! Obviously, the only reason why they are unpopular is because people don't know what they stand for... So if they "express their ideas better", and keep repeating themselves we'll finally see how brilliant they are! So clever!

    March 18, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Ronnie from Louisiana

    Most of the Americans who are thumbing down my President Obama is mostly Republican/Tea Bagger idiots anyways! The President has been trying, his heart out to be Bi Partisan, from GOP lunchons to casual visits, The Republican/Conservative establishment just do not like President Obama and will say no or go against anything or any bill the President puts fourth or endorses!! The Republicans are really The Party of No!! No cooperation, No Compremise, No Bi-Partisan voting! No Nothing!! But on the other hand, who cares about what these stupid polls say, I am still a happy camper Democrat, my President Obama has got another term, FOUR MORE YEARS CHUMPS!!!! LaDe Da!!! LMAO!!!

    March 18, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. EaglesQuestions

    And all is right in the world of American politics.

    March 18, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Jeff

    The American people are sick and tired of the whole system altogether. We're tired of politicians and their lies, deceits, self-serving agendas. We're ready for change, real change, not just change in the Dem or Rep party, but a change in the whole system. It is only a matter of time until this boil down to a revolution that the government will have to either recognize this and do the right thing, or the people will demand it in a forceable way.

    March 18, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Mary

    Okay, welfare is time limited, food stamps increased due to economy and job losses which began on the Republican watch and Obama phones are really Reagan phones since he was the first one to give "Lifeline" to people to help with telephone bills.

    March 18, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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