December 20th, 2013
01:01 PM ET
8 months ago

President ends year at all-time CNN polling low

Washington (CNN) – Fourteen points.

That's how far President Barack Obama's poll numbers fell in CNN polling over the course of what's been an especially tough year.

Obama's approval rating stands at 41% in a new CNN/ORC International survey released Friday, which matches the all-time low he fell to in CNN polling just last month. The President's disapproval rating remains unchanged at 56%, which is an all-time high in CNN surveys.

CNN/ORC International full survey results

In the afterglow of his 2012 re-election victory, Obama's rating stood at 55% in CNN polling in January. That number ranged from the upper 40s to the low 50s through May in CNN and most other national polling, but steadily declined in the following months as Obama dealt with one controversy after another, from NSA surveillance and IRS targeting of political groups to the disastrous startup of HealthCare.gov and the controversy over millions of Americans being told they would lose their current insurance plans because they didn't meet stands mandated by the new health care law.

According to the poll, which was released Friday, 40% say they disapprove of the President because they say his policies and actions have been too liberal, with 12% saying they disapprove because he hasn't been liberal enough.

"The growth in negative views of the President comes almost equally from the left and the right," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Not surprisingly, the number of Americans who disapprove of him because he is too liberal is up six points since the start of the year.  But the number of Americans who disapprove of him because he has not been liberal enough is up almost as much since January, indicating that his slide is due as much to disappointment as it is anger."
Obama's support is weakening in some key demographics.

"A majority of women and half of younger Americans, two key components of the Obama coalition that helped to elect and re-elect him to the White House, disapprove of Obama's track record as President," Holland said.

Three-quarters of Democrats questioned say they approve of the job the President is doing in office, but one in five give him a thumbs down. The President's approval rating stands at 32% among independent voters and just 8% among Republicans.

Besides the CNN polls, Obama's approval rating reached new lows or tied his all-time lows in six other individual non-partisan, live operator national surveys conducted over the past two months.

Division on budget deal

The poll was conducted Monday through Thursday, as the Senate passed, with bipartisan support, a budget deal struck by Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and his Democratic Senate counterpart Patty Murray. The House overwhelming passed the agreement last week. According to the survey, 46% of Americans support the deal, with 42% opposed, and 12% unsure.

"Positive views of the budget agreement, passed by the Senate on Wednesday, outweigh negative views, but the number of Americans who don't have an opinion about the complex bill is in double digits, keeping support - and opposition - below 50%," Holland said.

There is a wide partisan divide over the spending plan: 65% of Democrats and 42% of independents support it but only 28% of Republicans are in favor of the deal, which sets spending levels, reduces the deficit, relieves some of the forced spending cuts known as sequestration, and prevents another government shutdown in January, when current funding for federal government runs out.

Obama compared to previous presidents

How does Obama's approval ratings match up to his most immediate two-term predecessors as they finished up the first year of their second terms?

George W. Bush also stood at 41% approval in CNN polling at the same point in December 2005. Bill Clinton was at 56% in December 1997 and Ronald Reagan was at a lofty 63% in December 1985.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International December 16-19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Elias

    It's Obama a dictator or just getting close to become one?

    December 20, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Canineok

    I am surprised the disapproval isn't higher. Once you are found to be a liar, getting credibility back is almost impossible. The ultimate poll will be the Senate and House elections next November. I cannot imagine the President rebounding to positive by that time.

    December 20, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. M. Mills

    I fully support President Obama.
    I would like to see who it is you are polling, myself, friends, co-workers, family members are never polled, aren't we part of the so-clled "American People" you polled? The Predisent is doing a very good job...Go Obama!!!

    December 20, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Mikie

    If he didn't put AIPAC first above America OBAMA would have better poll results.

    December 20, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. CryBabies

    @Rudy NYC ....Thats very comforting....and irrelevant.

    December 20, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. tor5

    The Right and the media will never get it. This is classic Obama rope-a-dope. He sits back and lets his opponents punch themselves out, until their rhetoric devolves to blatantly absurd falsehoods. Republicans ALWAYS comply. He looks defeated, but then he starts to counterpunch and Republicans have no defense because they've ruined their own credibility. Just watch.

    December 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Macmb

    Americans that voted for him say: BS me that i like it.

    December 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. jdun

    I'm shocked its as high as 41%. The amount of time the right and the media have spent in obstructing this president is unprecedented. He brought us out of depression, stimulated the economy, ended 1 war so far and another next year, has a reasonable foreign policy and is getting 30 million more Americans health care despite almost no support from the republican party. In the meantime he as tried to compromise with an uncompromising republican party who continues to pretend that he is not president. If only the house was democrat so we could do much more stimulus like a major infrastructure bill to create 3 million good jobs. All his rating shows me is that negative propaganda continues to be successful in modern America because our citizens need to blame somebody for their problems. I shudder to think how bad off we would be if Republicans controlled the White House. too!

    December 20, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. JohnRJohnson

    FIVE YEARS OF RELENTLESS, BRUTAL AND GROSSLY DISHONEST PROPAGANDA AIMED AT THIS PRESIDENT has obviously paid off. If the you say the economy is terrible often enough, despite all of the current economic indicators being up, people will start to believe it. If you focus all of the attention on a statement the President made about being to keep your policy, despite all of the good things that the ACA does, people will think that misstatement was an intentional lie and that the entire law is bad. If continually talk as if Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS were genuine scandals, rather than completely made up falsehoods, then a certain number of people will begin to see scandals everywhere. I find this poll to be nothing more than a reflection of the effectiveness of the right-wing's massive campaign to engineer the failure of this president from the day of his first inauguration. From the Birthers to the gun fetishists and people with extreme anti-government sentiments, these people share a common hatred of this president, and they are eager to believe anything the validates that hatred.

    December 20, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Big_D

    He will never get reelected with numbers like that.

    December 20, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Big_D

    I am just tired of the GOP that wrote the Patriot Act being so hypocritical. They are afraid they are going to be spied on because they lost the election, they had no problem with it until they lost.

    December 20, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. JohnRJohnson

    FIVE YEARS OF RELENTLESS, BRUTAL AND GROSSLY DISHONEST PROPAGANDA AIMED AT THIS PRESIDENT has obviously paid off. If you say the economy is terrible often enough, despite all of the current economic indicators being up, people will start to believe it. If you focus all of the attention on a statement the President made about being able to keep your policy, despite all of the good things that the ACA does, people will think that misstatement was an intentional lie and that the entire law is bad. If you continually assert that Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS were genuine scandals, rather than completely made up falsehoods, then a certain number of people will begin to see scandals everywhere. I find this poll to be nothing more than a reflection of the effectiveness of the right-wing's massive campaign to engineer the failure of this president from the day of his first inauguration. From the Birthers to the gun fetishists and others with extreme anti-government sentiments, these people share a common hatred of this president, and they are eager to believe anything the validates that hatred. It is outrageously ironic that Republicans in Congress have been so strident in calling the President a liar, WHEN THEY THEMSELVES HAVE BEEN LYING ABOUT VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING ELSE!

    December 20, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Bob

    He just simply doesn't care since he is on his way out and what is the matter with a little bit of murky water, let the other guy has a taste and figures out him/herself.

    December 20, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Bob132

    I don't think those numbers are surprising considering all the negative publicity that this president has received from day one. Most of it has not been justified and has been to make his presidency fail. Unfortunate a lot of people seem to believe a lot of it. I don't think there's any president that could have withstood a concerted effort to make their administration fail as the one has. That's not to say some of it isn't deserved but I would blame a lot of this on the republican propaganda machine.

    December 20, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Big_D

    The only polls that count are in November and Obama doesn't have to worry about those any more.

    December 20, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Garrett from Texas

    His low poll numbers are the same as Bush's. It must be Bush's fault!

    December 20, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Garrett from Texas

    "He's still polling better than Reagan at the same point in time." – Rudy NYC

    You obviously didn't read the article did you? Reagan has him beat by 22% points.

    December 20, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Wes

    the uhbama is a complete disaster. Period.

    December 20, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. wm Scot

    Geez a poll of a little over 1000 folks on the phone tells us what the nation is feeling ! What a joke ! Yes he has had some lumps this year with the roll out but the guy that has guided us out of the worst recession since the depression with the opposition blocking everything he has done to spur the economy and has only the good of ALL Americans in his agenda unlike the other side that has only the rich and powerful on their agenda.
    What kind of poll is this ?????

    December 20, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. shackleton

    maybe its because he is a failure

    December 20, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Tommy G

    Malory Archer
    what has he done that warrnats his removal from office? And what crimes have the other committed
    -

    How about lying to the entire country REPEATEDLY and perpetrating the biggest FRAUD on the American people that we have ever seen in the history of this country? If a private company had done this, people would be going to jail.
    **********************************************
    he's owned up to the fact that he was wrong, unlike a lot of previous presidents on both sides of the aisle. Its a pity you're too filled with hate to notice.

    December 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Just me

    I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to believe that 44% of the voting body still agree with this president – he has been proven time and time again to be a liar and at best, incompetent... so 44% of Americans no longer judge people by their morals or values? That's a very scary thought.

    December 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. guest007

    his approval will be lower in 2014 when americans realize that obamacare cost more than what they advertise especially when they see they tax return 50% LESS what they are getting before

    December 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. ro

    The polls are low because Americans are Stupid.

    December 20, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. SCOTTA.

    yep it was hope and change all right. HOPE AND CHANGE FOR THE WORST!!

    December 20, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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