CNN Poll: Obama at 51% approval but lower on key issues
April 8th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama at 51% approval but lower on key issues

Washington (CNN) – As President Barack Obama begins what could be a pivotal week, with gun control, immigration reform and border security, and the budget all in the spotlight, a new national survey indicates the president's approval rating has inched above the 50% mark.

But according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, the president's approval numbers on those three crucial issues remain below 50%.

Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the survey say they approve of how Obama is handling his duties as president, with 47% saying they disapprove. The president's approval rating is up four points from last month, but below his 55% high this year, recorded in mid-January just before his second inauguration.

"Throughout his first term, President Obama's ratings were typically boosted by positive views of him as a person rather than his policies, and that dynamic seems to be still in force in his second term," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The change in Obama's approval rating comes among two key elements of his winning electorate coalition - women and younger Americans - suggesting that those old patterns are still in place."

The survey's release comes as the president travels to Connecticut, the state that was the scene of last December's horrific shooting at an elementary school that left 20 young students and six adults dead, as part of his push for Congress to act on legislation to reduce gun violence. According to the poll, 45% of Americans approve of how Obama's handling gun policy, with 52% saying they disapprove. In January, his approval/disapproval on the issue stood at 46%-49%.

On another contentious issue, immigration reform, a couple of members of the Senate's so-called "Gang of Eight" bipartisan members working towards a compromise bill say they may reach agreement as early as later this week. The president is encouraging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. Forty-four percent of Americans say they approve of how Obama's handling the issue, with half saying they disapprove.

Wednesday the White House releases its budget for the next fiscal year, which according to senior administration officials will include proposed changes to Social Security and Medicare plus some new tax increases in an effort for the president to reach a deal with Republicans on reducing the nation's massive budget deficit. Even in advance of its release, the budget has drawn criticism from both Republicans and from liberal groups upset over the proposed cuts Social Security and Medicare.

According to the poll, just 38% say they approve of how Obama's handling the federal deficit, with nearly six in ten saying they disapprove, the president's lowest score out of nine issues tested. His only net-positives are foreign affairs and policies toward gays and lesbians.

The survey indicates that male views of Obama have not changed at all since March, but the president's approval rating jumped seven points among women.

"The gain among people under 35 years old was a whopping 15 points, compared to no change at all in the middle age brackets and a seven-point drop among senior citizens, possibly fueled by concerns over Obama's proposed changes to Social Security," adds Holland. "Obama has also gained among moderates, while his high support among liberals and his low support among conservatives has remained unchanged.

So where does the president stand compared to his two-term predecessors.

Historically, Obama's 51% approval rating is par for the course among second-term presidents. Four months after their second inaugurals, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon all had approval ratings within a couple of points of Obama's current mark. Only Bill Clinton, with a 54% approval rating in April, 1997, had better numbers than Obama does today.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Ice

    I don't get how he can get 51%!! The economy is down! There are no jobs to speak of! The national debt is way up! More Americans than ever are on food stamps and are living in poverty! The taxes are up! And he is getting a 51% approval rating? For what? He has no budget; he has no plan on how to get the economy back on track; he has no plan on how to cut the debt, other than lets keep raising the taxes! I wouldn't even have to much of a problem of raising the taxes a little bit, and would gladly pay a little bit more every month, if they would actually take that additional income and use it to lower the deficit! Instead they keep adding to the deficit, raise spending.
    The only things I think he has been handling well is the North Korea deal and getting Bin Laden! he failed miserably in all of the other aspects of his job.....mainly getting the economy back on track and the American people back to work. Good paying jobs...not the low paying fast food store jobs. he has it on his desk to get high paying construction, science and other higher paying jobs back in the game. One is the pipeline, others are drilling, and of course the infrastructure such as roads and bridges that need fixing. Instead he is refusing to do that, and is adding additional regulations instead, which kill even more jobs. In turn many of those jobs are now leaving the country too. I have a lot of friends who lost their jobs because of that. And those were Geologists and Engineers. They have all been pushed out of jobs over the past few months, thanks to new regulations. Companies have told me that they may even close all together because they can't afford the additional costs. Obamas healthcare is another disaster. I have been offered a job where I was told that I won't be getting health insurance through the employer. It would be cheaper for them to take the fine instead then to insure all of the employees. But they don't pay enough that I'd be able to afford health insurance on my own either.
    But I don't put all the blame on Obama alone! It is the Senate and Congress as well that doesn't do their jobs. It's both parties that are at fault that our country is in this mess!! And neither party is interested to do the right thing and put politics aside, and place the country and the people that they are supposed to work for first!!

    April 8, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. As-if

    Well what do you expect from a Community Organizer who never had a real job or produced a single thing in his life, that is surrounded by liberal yes-men. Oh I know, lets just spend another trillion dollars to appease the liberals, not that the repubs are any more fiscally conservative...

    April 8, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Approval ratings are subject to the liberalness or conservative nature of the pollsters. Most are pure propaganda outlets for the administration.

    April 8, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. haystupid

    who really cares, if you voted for him you will say you like him even though he has not done a lot to speak of. People voted for him again even though the budget wasent taken care of in the fist four years as he touted , saying how it was un patriotic to run up such debt . The debt now out of control and still no concern from him , saying it is sustainable. The fed is pumping trillions into the economy , anyone that thinks things are great are blind .unemployment went down 1 tenth because more stopped looking for work , liberals believe if 1 job is created in a month we have job growth and progress was made. If something were to happen now in the U.S like 9 11 during the bush era ( who I didn't vote for either time) I would like to see the response from this administration and the money that would be spent, the debt would be so out of control it would crush us. People are quick to forget what bush had to deal with and still , years later still blame him. Once Obama care , if it ever get fully set up, young people will be so burdened with paying for health care they wont be able to afford to live on there own . The problems from Obama will last long into the future , I will be long gone before this debt that he racked up is paid for. Be careful how for you lean forward, you will fall on your face!

    April 8, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Gary

    Wow congratulations Obama!! That 51% is almost the same percentage of people you now have on food stamps. It is really amazing that the deficit is almost 17 trillion, He has killed innocent people with drone strikes some of which are in countries we do not have troops in. Our Embassy burned, Ambassador dead nothing done, Yet the knuckleheads are cheering for him. If a Republican was president right now with the country like it is you would be screaming bloody murder. However, being it’s the Messiah? You just bend over and smile. Many things about liberals make the rest of us sick but it’s your double standard and most of all your hypocrisy that is the worst. Bush did this and that I have heard it all before and guess what? Who is worse- the fool, or the fool who follows him? Everything that Bush did Obama has used as a starting point to do worse.

    April 8, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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