Obama approval higher than Bush, but lower than Clinton, Reagan
November 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama approval higher than Bush, but lower than Clinton, Reagan

Washington (CNN) - Forty-one percent.

That's where President Barack Obama's approval rating stands this Thanksgiving, according to a new CNN Poll of Polls that averages the latest national surveys asking Americans to assess the job he is doing.

Fifty-five percent say they disapprove of his performance, according to the average.

The latest CNN Poll of Polls was released Thursday and is an average of five non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of the President's approval rating conducted over the past two weeks.

They include Gallup's daily tracking poll (Nov. 24-26); CNN/ORC International (Nov. 18-20); American Research Group (Nov. 17-20); CBS News (Nov. 15-18) and ABC News/Washington Post (Nov. 14-17). Since it is an average of multiple surveys, the CNN Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

The President's approval rating reached new lows or tied his all-time low in national surveys released over the past month from CNN/ORC (41%), CBS News (37%), ABC News/Washington Post (42%), Quinnipiac University (39%), National Journal Heartland Monitor (38%), and NBC News/Wall Street Journal (42%).

So how does his approval ratings compare to his most immediate two-term predecessors?

"Obama gets significant worse numbers than Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan did at this time in their second terms," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Clinton's approval rating was 59% in November 1997, and Reagan's figure was 65% in November 1985. But Obama is slightly outpacing George W. Bush, whose rating had fallen to 37% in November of 2005."

The approval rating is generally considered the best polling gauge of a President's standing among the public and of his political clout in the nation's capital.

soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. CapeCod

    Has anyone noticed the flip flops he's made over the last 5 years?

    He changed his mind about marriage being between a man and a woman.....
    He changed his mind when he said $10 trillion in debt was too much for our children....
    He changed his mind when he said he'd end the Patriot Act
    He changed his mind about drones dropping bombs on villages being a war crime.....

    And how can the president say for 2-3 years the same thing about healthcare and nobody corrects him?
    He either knew that millions would lose their healthcare or he didn't know because he didn't read his own bill.
    Why didn't someone stop him and say "Mr. President, what you're saying is not true"?
    There's no doubt in my mind that if he would have told the American people the truth that this bill would have never gotten through the US Senate.
    It must be pretty bad when members of Congress made sure their were exempt from it.
    Pelosi words are haunting...."We need to pass it to see what's in it"....

    November 28, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. MaryM

    Yet, the Presidents ratings are much Higher than the republicans. The ACA can and will be fixed just like Medicare part D. However, it will take the republicans a long time to fix their nonsense.

    November 28, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. cfd

    The beatings will continue until morale improves

    November 28, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Matthew

    Within the margin of error.

    November 28, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. Steve

    Must have polled a lot of Obama phones!

    November 28, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. Gladdensnoot

    @Tony – The model for the rest of the country was for each state to implement their own plan according to their resources and needs, not to apply one state's plan to all states.

    November 28, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Philadelphia

    Amazing that Oprah says his ratings are low because he's black. His incompetence is beyond comprehension yet my dem friends still say they will always vote the party line no matter who the candidates are.

    November 28, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. SpgfldTom

    Now where did they find the 41% that approve of Obama? Did they do their polling at Zany Joe Biden's house? Did they poll the staff of Kathleen Sebelius? Do the approvals come from more than a few $100 dollar a year ObamaCare "Navigators"? Congrats American, you got this turkey for another 3 years!!!!

    November 28, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. TheSadTruth

    THANK YOU AMERICA- for restoring some of my hope that the American people have an attention span longer than that of a goldfish. For recognizing that while Obama may be failing by trying to do the right things, that you recognize the over-reaches of power that came before him.
    Obama stepped in during a difficult time, and has fought battles from within and outside to make progress. I believe the future will show that while he may not have been the most effective president, it was during his administration that the people of this country finally began to examine the fallacies they have been living under for decades- and put a discerning eye toward the leaders they elect.

    November 28, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Gunderson

    Is it because Obama not give enough Freebee's to Nanny Stater's or is it because he give too much Freebee's to Nanny Stater's. To get clear picture of the Liberal Manifesto just look at Obama Care Web Site. For once Liberal's try do it themselves and you see results. Liberal's want do great things, they just want do with other people's money. Now they need hire some Conservatives to do Web Site. Problem Liberal's no have enough money to bribe Conservative build Web Site. Some Mess Huh?

    November 28, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. g

    give the republicans a never ending war that will pay for itself and they will be happy-happy-happy

    November 28, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Paul

    The media bashed bush from mid-2002 through the end of his term. CNN, ABC, the AP, and the NY Times gave Obama the most positive coverage ever afforded to a presidential candidate or President. If the main stream media treated Obama the way they treated Bush, Obama's approval would be 15 points lower than what it is. Obama got away with almost ZERO main stream media coverage on his ties with Aires and Wright, his explosion of Executive office power through appointment of Czars and his unprecedented use of Executive Orders. There was no coverage when Fast and Furious broke. Main Stream media bought his story on Benghazzi and refuse to follow the links between Obama and NSA or the IRS scandal targeting Conservatives. Main Stream media refused to expose the blatant lies of Obama when he was peddling Obamacare – you all knew back then the economic deception and refused to tell the American people about it.
    The Main Stream media is responsible for deceiving the nation.

    November 28, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. RandySandberg

    .The U.S. is decaying from within-not slowly either. We are reaping what we've sown.

    November 28, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Kenman

    Chris Asking Question, you make a good point. I personally suspect the CNN/ORC polling, and there have been questions about the tiny New Hampshire pollster American Research Group's founder LaFell D. Bennett, and there is no "about us" information on their website. The others, the network stations, have certainly displayed biases before.

    November 28, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Mike

    On the bright side, his popularity is still FOUR TIMES that of Congress 🙂

    November 28, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Paul

    I think he is doing a good job under the circumstances. Republicans have blocked, obstructed, and resisted everything he has tried to do. Imagine trying to run a company if half the board of directors and half the workers opposed your every decision? Obama, is at least trying to do the right thing. I blame the republicans for turning everything into a crisis for political gain. They are hurting the country.

    November 28, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Tony in Maine

    Good place to be mid 2nd term with the Repos and their fully compliant pundits on the howl.

    November 28, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but The LORD looketh on the heart" (1st Samuel 16: 7)

    November 28, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Smellferd

    I live in a sizable development where there are a lot large social gatherings. Politics is a frequent topic of conversation. It is interesting that every one of the liberal democrats (with the only exception being those who are black) used to arge vehamently for Obama and the ACA.... but have now turned unequivically against the president since the effects of the ACA have begun to have a personal impact. Along with this, they seem to be paying a lot more attention to things like Bengahzi and the IRS scandal. If this sample is indicative of what is happening elsewhere... I would say this poll is skewed heavily in Obamas favor and that he is in reality following right on the heels of Bush jr. if not even worse. 2014 is going to be an interesting time for encumbant democrats who are up for reelection.

    November 28, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. CapeCod

    Tell the truth Obama supporters.....

    Is this really "Hope and Change"?

    November 28, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Freedom Storm

    As usual for tyranny's propaganda machine, the numbers are reversed whenever it suits the intended message ... ... from 14 to 41.

    November 28, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Steve

    It saddens me to hear people say, "However, his numbers are better than Republicans." Is that all this is about, keeping your party's numbers above the others? You would be pleased if a democrats ratings were at 7% as long as the republicans numbers were at 6%? You wouldn't care if you were poorer, losing your personal freedoms, the laughing stock of the world as long as people thought under the other party, people thought you would be even more poor, etc,?

    If so, there is no hope for us.....

    November 28, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    There appears to be a floor for President Obama's poll numbers in light of the recent rough patch. With improvements in the implementation of the ACA, deal agreement with Iran, and just say NO obstructionist blunders by Republican Tea Partiers, his poll numbers should go back up.

    November 28, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. roadrager1

    Just proves that the country is made up of 41% of idiots.

    November 28, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Albert

    Not a Bush fan; but, to be fair, the media's negative bombardment of Bush makes the comparison with him null and void. Back then, everything bad was his fault according to the media and they reminded us everyday.

    November 28, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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