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. John P. Adams

    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.
    are you kidding me. 1021 people sampled out of 330,000,000. who the hell are these idiots trying to convince wiht these bogus numbers.
    Try again CNN. next thing we know you all will be saying what a great admisitrator and manager Barry really is. laughable if this wasn't such a serious problem

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

    There is no functional difference between Republicans and Democrats any more.

    If someone tells you otherwise, watch your wallet carefully.

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

    The Spartans had this very interesting way of dealing with their "politicians". Once their term of office was completed they stood trial for crimes against the state. They had to prove that they did their job. If they were found guilty of not doing their job they were executed. Maybe if our elected officials had to face accountability at the end of their term, they might end up doing their job. It is appalling that these elected officials do not feel the impact of the budget cuts - they get their paychecks, it doesn't impact their retirement, etc. Maybe if they were in the same boat as the rest of the citizens that elected them into office, they actually might work at solving the problem. Instead of continuing this childish school yard bickering over who controls the sand box.

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

    Oh but we cannot have a bad story about this POTUS without worse news about the oppositions right CNN.
    See Obama it's not so bad. You are doing really bad but hey! the other guys are worse so keep on doing what u r doing! All is well

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

    I would rather be unfavorable than viewed incompetent.

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

    There is nothing wrong with the American Right Wing that a wine enema won't cure.

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

    Of course when they say too many old white men, that is a racist remark in itself.
    Where is the ACLU now??????????????????????????
    Won't they stand up for some old white guys?????????????????
    Guess not.
    ACLU are RACISTS.

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

    Funny – 50% approval means you are a bit down – 4% more and you are underwater

    Typical biased reporting at CNN

    Please – just report and quit biasing the news – all of you

    March 18, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. judith

    Obama is still much, much more popular than the Know-Nothing GOP. Also, he doesn't have to worry about ever running for reelection again. Obama has been trying to promote job growth and a more fair tax system and create more opportunity for ordinary working people. Why have the Republicans done nothing in passing a jobs bill? The way to help the financial situation of the country is to get more people working at decent wage jobs. The Republicans are blind to that very basic fact–the more Americans working–the better for all of us. All Boehner and his enablers care about his fattening up the rich and corporations. They are completely out of touch with the struggles of mainstream Americans.

    March 18, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Roy Sr

    Both parties, it seems to me, are acting as the Foundinf Fathers designed. They are trying to do what they "perceive" what we the people want. Democrat operatives do it better than do Republicans, but they are both doing it. No one, either party and very few politicians, have any idea what makes 49 state electoral victories, and the Democrat party has been using the public treasury to buy votes for so long they don't have a clue. Now the Republicans are trying to out-Democrat the Democrat party. Wow. No wonder the Tea Party is on the rise!

    March 18, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Ricky

    I wish the media would stop with the polls already. They mean nothing until election time. People who know nothing about politics change their mind really quick, and they are the "swing voters." They will get mad several times a week with each party, but then come election day, they can only remember what they heard the week before the election and they will vote according to that.

    March 18, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. NotYoDaddy

    Don't you love how the percentages are presented?

    GOP unfav rate of 54%

    While Obama "approval" below 50%

    So why not just print what Obama's unfav rate is?

    (I could tell you why, but I think that you are smart enough to figure it out)

    March 18, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. IvotedforObama

    I support Obama because I see the GOP for what they truly are: racist. They are doing to him on a national level what has been done to black men for decades on a lower level. Tear down anything they want to do, when they are successful belittle it and then refuse to work with them.

    March 18, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. Brad

    why on warth cant they just put out a survey to everyone to see the true numbers. instead of picking and choosing what areas to poll. a grain of salt is how I take these polls, beacause of that fact that they choose demographics and geographical locations where they know already what the outcome will be. should do a state by state just like the election is done. oh and Obama sucks!

    March 18, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Fake It Good NASA

    If Obama wants to improve his ratings, he needs to fake another Moon landing. It worked great back in the 60's for Nixon when the Nazi's at NASA conned congress into spending billions of our tax dollars in order to do so, plus it 'boosted' our national ego. We could certainly use another 'show' to lift us up out of our economical dump...

    March 18, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. DumbasRocks [R]s

    This how abysmally and manically stupid [R]s are: they are willing to demolish their brand with all their mindless uber-patisan antics so long as they can make Obama's approval rating dip below 50%.

    But just recall that Obama replaced a [R] president who made news when his approval rating would dip above 30%.

    I wish the Teatards would go get a checkup and get clinically diagnosed by some mental healthcare experts.

    March 18, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Chris R

    Here is the problem with politicians. They reflect, for better or worse, the people that elect them. If we have a bitterly divided dysfunctional Congress unable to reach common ground on even the simplest of issues it's because we, as a people, are doing the same thing. We elect people that tell us exactly what we want to hear. We elect people that reflect our own desires and leanings. When you look at the comment boards, or facebook, or even everyday conversation we are more partisan than we have been in generations. We the people are unwilling to compromise and we push our politicians to the same place. Look, we elect the people, or people like them, year after year and we keep expecting something different to happen. That's the definition of insanity. Maybe, just maybe, we should elect some people that say "Hey, I'm open to well reasoned and fair compromise. We won't get everything we want but right now half of a loaf is better than starving in the streets." Of course, that would require *us* to respect compromise instead of demanding complete victory or utter ruin.

    March 18, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. UDidntBuildThat

    If Obama was Bi Partisan, he would not move the goals in the Sequester Bill that he laid down himself and agreed to by Republicans. If Obama was Bi Partisan, he would have implemented the Simpson/Boles plan that he appointed himself to cut spending. If Obama was Bi Partisan, he would put forth a budge that his own Party would support. Yes he is required to do so. If Obama was Bi Partisan he would seek common ground not photo ops. If Obama was anywhere near Bi Partisan, he would not have knowingly deceived the American people about Sequestration and blame republicans. He would not disparage the other side u r suppose to work it.That is not Bi partisan and certainly not leadership.
    Let's just have photo op moments, not do anything, and then go out there an blame republicans. Hey it has worked so far and the low information voters will be none the wiser b/c of my lapdog media like CNN.

    March 18, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. lvsingleton

    So it is a win for Obama. He cant run for reelection but if he makes the republicans look bad enough, the democrats could put kim jong un on the election ballot and still win as long as he promises to give out free stuff.

    March 18, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. ericgoestoholland

    As far as I'm concerned Obama was and is the perfect president for the time being. He was our best viable option for president in the past two election cycles and his campaigns brought the way we do elections into the 21st century. I will never forget the sense of relief I felt when the conservative party of the first half of the 2000s could no longer make the executive branch seem like arrogant cowboys to the rest of the world. Granted, it's not like the world loves us much more now. So where does this leave us now? The Republicans are in the midst of an ever-widening schism that will forever change the party. The Democrats are no longer shrugging their shoulders and hiding in corners, but I think they too are at the edge of a similarly large change. For many Republicans, Obama is somehow the equivalent of Stalin. Of course, they've been calling anything non-conservative "communist" since the 1950s. And for many Democrats, Obama isn't liberal enough. In the meantime, people from both parties are increasingly disenchanted with the approach of either of the parties. We want legitimate change in the way government works for us. We want more say over what our democratically-elected representatives do. Everyone sees that lobbyists and those with the purchasing power have more influence over our legislature than we do. I think what this country really needs is a peaceful democratic people's revolution, wherein conservatives and liberals set aside trivial differences in order to come together to advocate for change.

    March 18, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Legal Permit to Carry

    Another CNN classic! I'm not sure why all the people act surprised when they see this garbage. Let's talk about real news: Twinkies are back!!!!

    March 18, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. clint

    If the dems had ideas that did not spend money they would be ok but all they is spend

    March 18, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Malory Archer

    The American people have lost faith in both this failed administration and incompetent Congress. Time to replace the whole lot.

    March 18, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    This is just sad. The greatest country in the WORLD is having so many problems because the childish politicians would rather let it fall apart than to work together. Meanwhile, countries like India and China are secretly becoming more powerful. We had better get our collective @$$E$ in gear and stop playing around.

    March 18, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. ed dugan

    If anyone expects Republicans to learn anything from this they are sadly mistaken. I live in a heavily Republican area and the letters to the editor are consistently filled with hate and negative suggestions. They are a pathetic group of Americans and are only going to get worse. Jindall had it right – there's no fixing stupid.

    March 18, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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