October 31st, 2013
02:55 PM ET
12 months ago

Obama's poll numbers fall, but he's not alone

(CNN) - Take a second-term president who has faced a series of setbacks this year and what do you get: public opinion polls that are nothing to brag about.

But when it comes to dropping numbers, new surveys suggest that President Barack Obama has plenty of company in the nation's capital.

According to Gallup's latest daily tracking poll released Thursday, only 41% of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing, with 51% giving him a thumbs down.

It's the same story in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Wednesday indicating 42% approval - an all-time low in NBC/WSJ polling for the President - with 51% saying they disapprove, tied for his all-time high.

And for the first time in NBC/WSJ polling, the President's personal ratings are underwater, with 41% seeing Obama in a favorable light and 45% holding a negative view.

The NBC/WSJ and Gallup polls are not an aberration.

Obama stood at 41% approval in a Fox News poll last week and at 44% in the most recent CNN/ORC International survey, conducted immediately after the end of the 16-day government shutdown earlier this month.

"I don't think it's all tied to the health care website rollout or the government shutdown. You've also got the NSA surveillance controversy, the Syrian conflict. The President's had a very complicated and tough time of it since he was re-elected. I often wonder why people want a second term in the White House. They end up with so many headaches," said CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Just about all recent polling suggests Americans are angry and frustrated, and it's not just the President who's feeling the heat.

According to the NBC/WSJ survey, only 22% see the Republican party in a positive light, another all-time low those surveys.

The poll also indicates that more than six in 10 want to replace their own member of Congress, the highest percentage ever recorded on that specific question. And only 22% say the nation's headed in the right direction.

"Republicans should not take comfort in the fact that the President's numbers are dropping because their numbers are dropping even more. There is a sense of a pox on all your houses in all of this polling that we've seen recently," added Borger.

The government shutdown gave the President and congressional Democrats a short term boost in public opinion polls. The miserable launch of HealthCare.Gov maybe wiping away those gains.

The big question is which controversy may have a bigger impact with voters by the time the 2014 midterm elections roll around a year from now.

"Probably the biggest factor in the 2014 midterms will be the state of the economy next year," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But neither party seems to be directly addressing that problem right now and that has to be a major source of frustration for many voters."

"If they take that frustration out on the incumbent party in the White House, that's bad for the Democrats. If they take out that frustration on incumbent members of Congress, that's probably bad for the Republicans because there are more GOP incumbents than Democratic incumbents," he said.


Filed under: Polls • President Obama
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. gina

    How disingenuous of people. I hate Obama because "I don't want my healthcare insurance rates to raise but I want everything done when I am sick" – people are paying more for insurance because of the "risk" of insuring people = they are fatter, do not follow medical advice, do not exercise, etc. Do not get mad at Obama – go to your fat neighbor or work mate and give them a piece of your mind – that is why your costs are increasing! FOOLS.

    October 31, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. John

    He's just not a bright guy and so many in his adoring Media fan club claimed, and evidently he's just like every other politician. He's a narcissistic liar. He wants only the adulation and celebrity, but is unwilling and, indeed, incapable, of actually doing the work. It's ironic that the only reason he was elected is because he's black. He was inexperienced when first elected and he has learned nothing. He is as inept today as ever. In fact, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts he can't wait to leave office and move to California and hobnob with the Hollywood elite. He could care less about the average citizen and our daily issues.

    October 31, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. donaldcwhite

    Bring back King George III so we can have a do-over.

    October 31, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are great aren't they?
    Just think, right around this time last year the polls had the President and Mittens neck and neck.
    Yawn.

    October 31, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. sane

    So , who answers this polls..Neither me or my wife have the energy after a long work day to answer these poll question..Usually these are people who just sits in front of Fox or CNN the entire day after watching soaps.. The polls technically are flawed. Not to say that Obama is good. He is as good as or as bad as the ones before him..

    October 31, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. dave

    The poll can't mean much, only about 60% of voters actually vote. Who knows if those who were polled actually vote. Maybe if they included a Romney poll also, or maybe just poll the Obama voters, and then the Romney voters. They might poll those who favor having insurance, or maybe those who favor the republican non-existant plan for health care. As crisises go, the ones listed rank pretty low, when you consider it against the republican recession, the largest recession known, or Watergate and the Nixon resignation. Then you have all those wars the republicans started and never paid for, then complained about all the debt brought on by their recession and all those wars they charged up. To make it worse, they tried to pay for all their economic messes by taking food away from children.

    October 31, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    People are finally realizing what a fool this President is. It's ironic that his signature bill is bringing him down!

    October 31, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. MickeyOregon

    He is the most Nixonian of presidents since #37. What a bad bad bad president. Hopefully this is a trend and more of his worshipers will open their eyes and see this lazy, dissembling to outright lying man as the empty suit that he is. No – I am not a Republican, nor a part of any Tea Party. I've never ever watched FOX or listened to Rush. That said, I have never understood the worship, the veneration that this egocentric has had bestowed on him. Before this job, his resume was utterly empty of accomplishments. Lots of appointments – but never based on merit. As with this presidency he has always been in over his head.

    October 31, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Misery loves company. The Tea Party is dragging everything around them down.

    October 31, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. C S D

    Stop making this about one side or the other. The truth is no one in Washington has the people's best interest in mind while making their decisions. It's high time for a real change in government. As for the polls, they aren't a real representation of the facts. If you want to know how the people feel, then ask everyone. Asking 1000 people to represent the nation's opinion isn't reality. Especially when it is run by someone who has a political affiliation.

    October 31, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. enzo

    The ONLY thing that obama is any good at is LYING and it's apparent he's been doing it for MANY LONG YEARS.

    October 31, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Carl Kaminer

    Approval ratings are meaningless, nothing more than a snapshop of a moment in time forgotten once the next big story breaks. Problems with the ACA website won't diminish the Democrats' popularity in the long-term. The actual effects on the Democrats will come from the fallout generated by the ACA itself.

    October 31, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Larry in Houston

    """2014 & 2016 can't get here fast enough. hillary clinton might want to think of running on an independent ticket because democrats will be going down big time"""

    Answer: she is distancing herself temporarily......If the ACA ends up being a "winner" in the spring or 2014, she won't go for the Independent thing.... Too many have tried the ""Independent"" thing....I can name several....ralph nader, and the list goes on......all they do is take away votes from whomever has got the advantage, during election time...

    To be perfectly honest, she would be a fool to run in 2016, if there is a "republican sweep" in 2014.....take a look at what's happening now.....ever since 2010 ( ""the shellacking"" ) Obama's been pretty much a Lame Bird, in other words it's all argumentative, bickering, fighting, gridlock........and will be that way, till the mid-terms. In other words, "kick the can down the road"

    LOL

    October 31, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. tony

    I'd still rather have a dozen Obamas than one Bush. And that goes ten times higher than one Cheney.

    I KNOW who's mess we are in. And it isn't something that even George Washington could pull us out of in less than a decade or two.

    October 31, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Matt

    Obama's typical responses:
    A) "I didn't know anything about it"
    B) "Its somebody else's fault"
    C) (Lie) "Everything is wonderful"

    No wonder his numbers are down.

    October 31, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. JoJo

    Too bad they didn't teach real leadership skills at Community Organizing School.

    October 31, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. ghs

    you cannot compare congress numbers to the president, congress is like my dog and your niebors dog, you love your own dog but hate everyone elses who wakes you up barking.

    October 31, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    014 & 2016 can't get here fast enough. hillary clinton might want to think of running on an independent ticket because democrats will be going down big time.

    Yes

    October 31, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. liberal disease

    What exactly do people approve of? or are they don't want to admit they were wrong?

    October 31, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. TONE

    Are right wingers stupid or what some of the crap i am reading here is bizaare too much wacko birds on here.

    October 31, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. OrmondGeorge

    Crockett wrote:

    "His shenanigans with national parks and monuments were a disgrace and a disservice to the American people"

    HIS SHENANIGANS? HIS</SHENANIGANS? Give me a break, Your TEAPublicaNazis closed down the Government, THEY'RE the ones who held the Country hostage... THEN they go out and stand for photo ops like they had nothing to do with it.

    Talk about gall.
    I don't know who's worse. Them for causing all of this or you for trying to suggest that President Obama caused it... Or, I suppose you could be too dumb to know the truth.

    October 31, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Phil in KC

    The only thing that has changed since the last poll, which showed him with good numbers, is the ACA website issue. That is a sad commentary on society today when a website malfunction would sway people's feelings about the leader of the free world. I think a little perspective is in order. It's a website; they'll fix it; get over it.

    October 31, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Doug

    I'd still pick him over Mitt. Heck I'd pick 98% of Americans, including George Bush and John McCain over Romney. Don't get why the Republicans ran such a horrible Presidential campaign, but they did.

    October 31, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "His shenanigans with national parks and monuments were a disgrace and a disservice to the American people."

    There were no shenanigans other than the GOP/Teatrolls trying to make hay with what was an absolutely 100% foreseeable and expected consequence of them shutting down the gov't. They were and had clearly organized prior to forcing the gov't to shut down to try to make a fuss over the WWII memorial. It's not even deniable. Their response to it was too immediate, their talking points to pre-prepared and scripted and their mischaracterizations far too hyperbolic. It was planned. They knew darn well that shutting down the gov't would force the national parks to close, just like it did last time they shut down the gov't in 1996, and they sought a way to score political points with it or at least deflect the blame from themselves BY LYING THAT OBAMA SOMEHOW HAD A CHOICE ABOUT KEEPING THEM OPEN. He really didn't. THEY are the ones who shut the parks down. That some compromise was made was unsurprising, but you can bet your left ear that if Obama had allowed them in anyway, the GOP/Teatrolsl would have been up in arms screaming about "Obama trying to soften the blow of HIS gov't shutdown" and complaining that he was abusing his power by trying to keep the parks open just to save face for himself.

    October 31, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Lynn

    Mitt romneys father was on food stamps .

    October 31, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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