Obama hits new low on foreign policy in CNN polling
September 9th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama hits new low on foreign policy in CNN polling

Washington (CNN) – One day before President Barack Obama gives a prime time speech to make his case against Syria, a new national poll indicates the president's approval rating on foreign policy has hit an all-time low. And only three in ten approve of how he is handling Syria.

But according to a CNN/ORC International survey, the number of Americans who approve of how Obama is handling his job in general remains steady.

Only four in ten approve of the job Obama is doing on foreign policy, with 57% of those questioned giving the president a thumbs down. The 40% approval rating on foreign policy is Obama's lowest level ever on that issue in CNN polling.

The CNN poll's Monday release comes as the president sits down for interviews with the country's major broadcast and cable news networks, including CNN, to push for congressional authorization for U.S. military action to punish the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against its own citizens.

"President Obama's approval rating on foreign affairs has continued its steady decline - from 54% in January to 49% in April, 44% in June, and just 40% now," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "This may be a troubling sign for a president who in past polls had always scored his highest ratings for his handling of foreign affairs."

Specifically on Syria, only 31% of the public approves of the president's policies and actions, with 63% giving him a thumbs down. Four in ten Democrats say they disapprove of the job Obama's doing on Syria, with 54% saying they approve.

There is a wide partisan divide on this question, with only 26% of independents and just nine percent of Republicans approving of how Obama is handling the situation in Syria, which is suffering through two years of a bloody civil war between government forces and various rebel factions.

"The number of Democrats who disapprove of how the president's handling Syria may cause problems for the White House," adds Holland. "Given his low approval scores on Syria among independents and Republicans, the 40% of Democrats who disapprove may mean there is no base to rally on this key issue."

The president's overall approval rating stands at 45%, with 52% saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House. The 45% approval rating is unchanged from CNN's previous poll, which was conducted in June.

"An unchanged overall approval rating perhaps comes as a surprise to some observers, but arguably the unpopularity of military action against Syria is balanced by the fact that the public wanted the president to consult with Congress before taking action on Syria, and that's exactly what he did," adds Holland.

The 45% approval rating is not Obama's lowest mark in CNN polling. His all-time low was a 43% approval rating in September of 2011.

The poll also indicates the president's approval rating on the economy stands at 43% on the economy, 42% on health care, and 36% on the budget deficit, all basically unchanged from earlier this year.

While the president's overall approval rating is nothing to brag about, it's still soars above Congress. According to the CNN poll, only one in five give federal lawmakers a thumbs up on the job they're doing on Capitol Hill, with 78% saying they disapprove.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International September 6-8, with 1,022 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Too Sensitive

    That's pretty bad if it is that low on a CNN poll. It is probably more like 30-35% on the real polls.

    September 9, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Egg Salad Sandwich

    Now he has wires coming out of his head. Great.

    September 9, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. jonquil123

    I don't understand some of you; you wail about President Obama "trying to bring us into another war in The Middle East" only to then jeer, that a diplomatic solution being presented is "an easy out" for The President. Well, which is your real opinion? Hoping to avoid war or longing to jump in?

    The only question, now, is whether or not the action of confiscating and destroying these weapons can be legitimately and thoroughly done. Many are acting like an agreement like this will put more on President Obama, when it's Russia who will have the international spotlight on them, forced to deliver under extreme pressure. If they suggested this and deceive The International Community afterwards, it will completely destroy their standing in The World as a legitimate Nation.

    September 9, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. BriHudson

    Let's all get this straight: our country elected nothing more than a Chicago community organizer, who had an Ivy League education handed to him on a silver platter. This community organizer never held a real job, nor has he ever worked hard for a living, having to struggle even in the slightest. He never ran or started a business and he's a millionaire for crying out loud. Gee, wouldn't it be nice if the rest of us could never work, never start a business, and suddenly become a millionaire.

    We elected an incompetent fool who bit off far more than he could chew.

    September 9, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Joe

    If 57% of those questioned giving the president a thumbs down, I'm one of the 43% then.

    September 9, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. BrianMemphis

    Duh. He's been steadily ignoring the will of the people.

    September 9, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. vonbrunk

    The Drone Ranger's approval ratings are dropping like bombs on Pakistani civilians. Too bad this lame attempt at rallying the war-weary American populace has fallen flat - otherwise Barry would have had a perfect smokescreen to hide from the recent scandals. Now THAT'S change we can believe in!

    September 9, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Joe Orefice

    Just when you thought the idiot in the White House had maxed out his stupidity index, he opens his mouth and puts the Syria Red Line Shoe in it. This isn't moot court in law school where you argue your case and then go have a beer summit. These are life and death decisions with the possibility of significant consequences for our country and the world. People are starting to remember your lies and your non-existent credibility. All the other world leaders are laughing at you as they should be. Poorest and most dangerous excuse for a president in the history of this once great country.

    September 9, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Standard Oil

    The Drone Ranger's approval ratings are dropping like bombs on Pakistani civilians. Too bad this lame attempt at rallying the war-weary American populace has fallen flat - otherwise Barry would have had a perfect smokescreen to hide from the recent scandals. Now THAT'S change we can believe in!

    September 9, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. martiniano

    His approval rating is measurable? I mean the machines can calculate such small numbers? That's pretty cool on the tech side. Obama kicked his supporters in the face when he approved the Monsanto "Fuk America" Law. Now he is just pouring salt on the wounds. Who knew his role model was Dick Cheney???

    September 9, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Clarke

    Polls are a funny thing. It matters not at the end of the day. I have no clue what people want from any one man, none!

    September 9, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. bb_959

    I wonder what the polls will say after he starts WW III?

    September 9, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. bence

    Obama can't hit a low in foreign policy because he don't have one

    September 9, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Sphy

    Despite all the partisan whining, Obama has done an incredible job with Syria.

    September 9, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Bud

    Tells me that there are 40% of something out there not watching the ball.

    September 9, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Robert

    He's plays more golf than Tiger Woods spends the rest of is time at parties,expensive vacations and talking about Travon and race.

    September 9, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. hibeam

    The worst president of all time. What happened to the lame stream media? The clown is their invention. And now they don't like him anymore? They own this guy. This guy is liberal media clown boy.

    September 9, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Mike

    Obama has done regime change in Libya, ended poorly with lawlessness taking over and no one ruling party, we have no idea where all the weapons are we gave the rebels. Egypt, Obama picked the wrong, Muslim terrorist partner, no credibility now, Syria he wants to arm rebel terrorists who are routinely killing Christians, he wants to bomb targets that have long since moved and his amateur strategy of taming the middle east with his soft talk has backfired. No one is afraid of the USA and with our shrinking Military, exit date from Afghanistan and mess that is Iraq now, we have proven to the world that we in fact, have no foreign policy strategy.

    September 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Stormer

    Sometimes people finally realize that being cool and a good speaker doesn't equate to being a leader.

    September 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. hibeam

    How is the tingly leg guy doing? Is his leg getting any better?

    September 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Ted Ward

    We have a community organizer instead of a president.

    September 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Kuron

    When you go against the will of the American people, this is going to happen. Forget your pride Mr. President and stay out of Syria!

    September 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    With Syria about to hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons – because of the foreign policy efforts of President Obama – folks are giving him a low rating?

    We are a nation of retards, I swear ...

    September 9, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Don't_Listen_To_Clintons

    Obama is listening to the wrong people. Recent foreign policy is leading to a "Mad Max" world of no governments, no law in the areas where we "Influenced" the outcome.

    September 9, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Wow, the RWNJs are out in force on this one! You folks are all pathetic.

    September 9, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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