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. Donna

    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%.
    -
    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.
    -
    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.
    ---

    Obama.... Out of touch with the American people and NOT in the main stream. They think he's a nice guy but a complete failure at just about everything else.

    April 8, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. HOW SURPRISING.

    Seriously, he's a good president. I don't get why people hate the guy.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. SCBAMA

    He will continue to loose favorability ratings as it is unveiled how big a liar he is.

    April 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Kelly51

    This women is NOT in his corner on anything!

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Matt

    CNN always has to go out of its way to not look like it favors the Democrats. Can't say anything positive about Obama without having to counteract it with some negativity. Network is a joke, just represents the view points of the extreme right and extreme left, almost like an MSNBC / FOX NEWS hybrid. How about the center?

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. ShawnDH

    Great president...maybe the best of my lifetime.

    April 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. cf

    Drop the gun restrictions and popularity may go back up.

    April 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. nate

    So the questions are, do you approve of his handling? Doesn't that skew numbers? If I'm pro gun I'm not going to support his attempts to pass legislation and his earlier executive orders, and will say I disapprove of his handling on the issue. If I'm more liberal and anti-gun, I'm going to look at Obama and say, why are you doing enough about guns, and will say I disapprove of his handling of the issue. They need to stop using these push polls and hire someone with a brain.

    April 8, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. liberal disease

    I live i n Manhattan and people who work for a living cant stand him, the people with benefit cards, luv him..hard not to luv Santa Claus!

    April 8, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. frank

    amazing..Americans are still at 51% stupidity levels.

    April 8, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. nate

    So the questions are, do you approve of his handling? Doesn't that skew numbers? If I'm pro gun I'm not going to support his attempts to pass legislation and his earlier executive orders, and will say I disapprove of his handling on the issue. If I'm more liberal and anti-gun, I'm going to look at Obama and say, why aren't you doing enough about guns, and will say I disapprove of his handling of the issue. They need to stop using these push polls and hire someone with a brain.

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. frank

    amazing..Americans are still at 51% s t u p i d i t y levels.

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. frank

    amazing..Americans are still at 51% ignorant levels.

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Demigod Vadik, CA

    What polls don't show is why disapproval is high on things such as gun control...

    ...25% of those disapproving think he is not tough enough, and he needs to be stricter...

    ...so in reality there is only about 25% of true disapproval with Obama on the gun issue...

    April 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Mindy

    His rating doesnt really matter anymore now does it he's in his second term. I say go for it do what you think is right Mr. President let history judge you. I say you are the best thing that could have happened to this country at this particular time.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. frank

    some words are banned on CNN if critical of Obama

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    i don't think he cares about anybody. just his political agenda.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. BW

    I really want to know where the decide who to contact for these polls. In the last 15 years, I have never been asked a single poll like this. Also, I really don't think you can base the national percentage off of just over 1,000 people. Personally, I think his numbers are MUCH lower than this.

    April 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. joe

    The only 51% Obama has is you the liberal media in bed with him!!!!!

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Maypo

    His ratings would be higher if he was given a weekly variety show.....where he could sing, dance, tell jokes, eat chicken....you get my point

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Bob

    Yeah, our people approve of slowly taking the country down the gutter.

    April 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Disgusted

    Really?
    I think the only folks that like this clown are the media and Hollywood.
    You aren't fooling anyone with these false statistics and lies.

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Newmalthus

    This is what CNN calls "Breaking News?" Wow, the new management team from MSNBC is really workin' it !

    April 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. TheTruth

    51%?? Lol... ok, whatever you say. His goal is to put this country into an irreversible tailspin. Plain and simple.

    Worst president in the history of this country. Hands down. No contest.

    April 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. spock500

    Thank you Donna, for that enchanting, brilliant, and inspiring analysis. Then how did Mr. Obama manage to clock Mr. Romney in Nov 2012?

    April 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6