Obama's polls nothing to brag about ahead of big speech
January 27th, 2014
12:22 PM ET
9 months ago

Obama's polls nothing to brag about ahead of big speech

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's poll numbers are near the lowest of his presidency as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

According to a CNN Poll of Polls compiled on Monday which averages the most recent non-partisan, live operator national surveys, Obama's approval rating stood at  44%, with 51% of Americans giving a thumbs down to Obama's performance in the White House.


That's marginally better than two months ago when they ran at or near all-time lows for Obama. But it's still far below where it stood a year ago, at his second inaugural, when his approval rating stood in the low to mid 50's in most polling.

Obama's numbers tumbled after a summer of controversy over the Edward Snowden intelligence leaks and congressional investigations into IRS targeting of conservative political groups. Then came October, and the politically charged botched rollout of Obamacare, his signature domestic policy achievement.

Coupled with legislative setbacks, many pundits labeled 2013 the worst year of Obama's presidency. And for the first time since taking over at the White House in 2009, a majority of the public surveyed disapproved of his job performance.

Obama, himself, has been much more popular than his policies, but his favorable ratings – a separate indicator from job performance - are also now hovering near his all-time lows.

Just 49% of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post survey said they had a favorable opinion of the President. Fifty percent said they saw him in an unfavorable light.

"Americans' views of Obama as a person started to fall in the spring and summer of 2013, well before the flawed roll-out of the new health care law," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

"Around the time of the NSA and IRS controversies, the number of Americans who felt he was honest and trustworthy dropped nine points, and the number who said he was a strong leader who inspired confidence also dropped at that time," he said.

The President said he doesn't obsess over polling.

"If I was interested in polling, I wouldn't have run for president," Obama said at a news conference in December.

The silver lining for him in all these polls: While his numbers are not impressive, approval ratings for Congress overall, and specifically for congressional Republicans and Democrats, are much lower.

How Obama matches up with predecessors

So how does Obama stack up when compared to his most recent two-term predecessors, as they started the sixth year of their presidencies?

George W. Bush was also underwater, with a 43%-54% approval/disapproval rating in January 2006 as the Iraq war raged and criticism of the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina continued.

But Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan fared much better. Clinton stood at 59%-37% in January 1998, with Reagan at 64%-27% in January 1986.

"Historical comparisons suggest that the public's reaction to Bush and Obama are markedly more partisan than their predecessors," Holland said.  "It's almost as if the 2000 election marks a dividing point in U.S. politics, with 21st-century presidents not able to rely on support from voters from the opposite party that routinely gave a positive rating of 20th-century presidents."

The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of seven non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of the President's approval rating conducted over the two weeks.

They include the Gallup daily tracking poll (January 21-23); ABC News/Washington Post (January 20-23); Fox News (January 19-21); CBS News (January 17-21); American Research Group (January 17-20); Pew Research Center (January 15-19) and Quinnipiac University (January 15-19).

Since it is an average of multiple surveys, the Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. rs

    smith

    No big surprise here. Obama based his presidency on the ACA and it`s a pile of poop. Clinton or Christie better get a big shovel to clean up this pile.
    _________________
    As opposed to the GOP? Their big move was to shut down the government and go 5 years doing pretty much nothing constructive. How's that Republican Healthcare plan going?

    January 27, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. smith

    @Malory-Paying more for the same plan with a higher deductable is a good thing? That`s why people are upset. You would realize this if you put aside your political bias.

    January 27, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. jim

    After five years of failure and division, nobody really cares about or trusts what this guy has to say.

    January 27, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Gunderson

    Aw, No,
    You mean The Anointed One is polling in the dumps? but he said he was the one we were waiting for! What was it, your Taxes will not go up one thin dime if you are making below $200,000.00. If you like your Health Care you...........The Rich ain't paying their fair share, at the end of my first term unemployment will be down to 6.7 percent. Sorry old Gunderson no make the News, old Gunderson just report the news. So why you blame everyone else for your screw up? You vote wrong?

    January 27, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. smith

    @rs- I would rather have a party do nothing than a part do something and make the problem worse..common sense.

    January 27, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. unknown11

    So, does he still think that all we need is his golden words to solve all the world's problems, or has he yet realized that he is just a man?

    January 27, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Ulysses-AZ

    Obama's ratings are tied to the perceived effectiveness of his ACA plan. Unfortunately for him, he did a Bush "Read my lips..." when he said "If you like your plan/doctor, you can keep it". Factor into that the reality that healthcare costs are STILL spiraling out of control. My family is more healthcare poor today than they were 2 years ago. Coverage percentages and deductibles have risen along with any copays. I'm beginning to wish I lived closer to Mexico so I could purchase cough/congestion healthcare at reasonable prices.

    January 27, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. much thunder...little rain

    take away his support from the minority community its closer to 20% support

    January 27, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Goblin King

    This is the result of a failed administration more concerned with divisive partisan politics than improving this nation. I don't have any hope in the next 3 years either.

    January 27, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Obama's polls nothing to brag about ahead of big speech"

    Obama's polls irrelevant to the substance of Obama's speech.

    FIFY.

    January 27, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "take away his support from the minority community its closer to 20% support"

    Such a telling statement providing a direct window into the seething cauldron of white fright bubbling over within the Teatroll mind. They want so badly for demographic shifts not to be reality, to go away, to find an end-run around them, etc., that they think it's relevant "analysis" to remove all minorities from the polling picture to see what the results would look like without them (directly analogous, of course, to their desire to remove all minorities from the polling picture known as VOTING as well). Rage...RAGE against the dying of the white!!!!

    January 27, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    Wake up People!

    I don't know about anyone else but I'm doing fairly well under President Obama.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I saw on the news this morning where two-thirds of Americans believe things aren't going well economically speaking. IMO they should ask those same people how well things are going for THEM My guess is the results would be about the same as above, but since Americans are so used to hearing the so-called "liberal media" talk about how everything is, a great many believe it's it's worse for everyone else. It also explains why a few years ago a striking number of Americans polled said they were in higher income brackets than they are, with something like 20% of Americans stating their income was in the top 5%.

    January 27, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. gts58

    These polls are bogus – not representative of middle class America! Obama's approval rating among "working Americans" is in the 20 to 25 percent area. His only majority support comes from Blacks and those who depend of government welfare as a means of subsistence!

    January 27, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I don't have any hope in the next 3 years either."

    I'm sorry to hear that. Can't be fun living in a constant stake of doom and gloom; but hey, to each their own.
    Of course, were I a Republican ... yeah, I guess I can understand. The way things are in the GOP: who knows?
    I might be all doomy and gloomy after all.

    Oh, well. Enjoy whatever scenario gets you to sleep at night.

    January 27, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    smith

    @Malory-Paying more for the same plan with a higher deductable is a good thing? That`s why people are upset. You would realize this if you put aside your political bias.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except every time anyone looks into a claim that someone is paying higher premiums for the same plan, the claim gets debunked. YOU would realize this if you put aside YOUR political bias.

    January 27, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "take away his support from the minority community its closer to 20% support"

    Aaaw, come on now...surely you can compromise somewhere near the middle...say 3/5ths or so?

    January 27, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. tony

    The GOP slaves to wealth policy of destroying the Presidency of any black, non right-wing president, (and taking the American people down it as a matter of complete disregard ) is working out quite well.

    January 27, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    jim

    After five years of failure and division, nobody really cares about or trusts what this guy has to say.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except a quick scan of the numbers on the picture accompanying the article gives lie to your claim, and proves that more and more people AGREE with him.

    January 27, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    gts58
    These polls are bogus – not representative of middle class America! Obama's approval rating among "working Americans" is in the 20 to 25 percent area. His only majority support comes from Blacks and those who depend of government welfare as a means of subsistence!
    ------------–

    I see you included your factual references to back up your statement. Also, too.

    January 27, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    gts58

    These polls are bogus – not representative of middle class America! Obama's approval rating among "working Americans" is in the 20 to 25 percent area.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And you know this because.... ..... .....?

    January 27, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Harold Read

    But Obama has finally achieved the lowest unemployment rate in FIVE years!!!

    Of course it is really caused by having the lowest employment participation rate in 35 years. If Obama keeps on getting people to drop out of the workforce and stop looking for jobs, then he can get the lowest unemployment rate, ever!

    January 27, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. rs

    smith

    @rs- I would rather have a party do nothing than a part do something and make the problem worse..common sense.
    ____________________
    Well, it certainly sets a low level of expectation for the Right, and an ability for them to snipe the Left, right? Is that the Right's brand of leadership these days?

    January 27, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Tampa Tim

    I wonder if the baggers will ever give credit to Obama for getting us out of unfunded republican wars, creating 8 million jobs versus the 8 million lost by a republcan in 2008, putting the wars drug programs other republican brain freezes on the books, saving the auto and housing industry, putting an end to bin Laden, doubling the stock market; and all without a single republican vote.

    January 27, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Ron L

    So, 51% of Americans disapprove of the Presidents jobs performance. And you know I just he deserves it because he wants to:
    1) Get affordable heath care for all Americans
    2) Increase the minimum wage to $10.00 a hour so fulltime workers don't need government assistance.
    3) Extend unemployment for those that are still having a difficult time finding employment.
    4) Fix our immigration policies so those that are here illegally can have some path to citizenship.
    5) Close some of the loopholes when it comes to background checks when purchasing a gun.
    5) Close some of the unfair tax loop holes for the extremely wealthy to help pay for much needed infrastructure projects.
    I guess when you see it like that. No wonder people think he is doing such a bad job. BUT WAIT!! None of these can be done without the Congress. Only number ONE (health care), was implemented and it’s launch WAS horrific and inexcusable. But in the long run millions of Americans will have health care that did not have it before. But the remaining NEED the Congress and Senate to make it into law and if you have a group of 40 in the Congress who will not support those admirable goals. Who REALLY deserves the blame???

    January 27, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sniffit

    "take away his support from the minority community its closer to 20% support"

    Such a telling statement providing a direct window into the seething cauldron of white fright bubbling over within the Teatroll mind. They want so badly for demographic shifts not to be reality, to go away, to find an end-run around them, etc., that they think it's relevant "analysis" to remove all minorities from the polling picture to see what the results would look like without them (directly analogous, of course, to their desire to remove all minorities from the polling picture known as VOTING as well). Rage...RAGE against the dying of the white!!!!
    -------------------------------------------------
    You mean he was NOT referencing white people when he used the term 'minority"?.

    January 27, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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