Obama's polls nothing to brag about ahead of big speech
January 27th, 2014
12:22 PM ET
10 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. TomGI

    I expect him to stay the course and avoid war with Iran. That's the only reason I voted for him and it's all I expect from him. I know he will do nothing to improve the quality of life for my family and myself.

    January 27, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. hkirwin

    Malory Archer

    Marcus

    Open your wallets, libs. Have your youngster open his/her too. They are gonna pay for my healthcare in the future. Tell them to smile when they pay, I demand that.

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

    Yes marcus, our children WILL be paying for our care in the future – just as WE'RE currently paying for the older generation's care – unless the rethugs get their way and toss us all to the curb and not reimbursing us for the $$$ we've paid, leaving us to fend for ourselves after we've paid for decades for the older generations' care. If that happens, you'd better hope for both your sake and your children's that they can afford to care for you!
    =================================================================================

    Don't you mean that you better hope your children can afford to pay for you!

    January 27, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Darw1n

    I'm sure these polls are skewed, right conservatives? LOL

    January 27, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    hkirwin

    Malory Archer

    Marcus

    Open your wallets, libs. Have your youngster open his/her too. They are gonna pay for my healthcare in the future. Tell them to smile when they pay, I demand that.

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

    Yes marcus, our children WILL be paying for our care in the future – just as WE'RE currently paying for the older generation's care – unless the rethugs get their way and toss us all to the curb and not reimbursing us for the $$$ we've paid, leaving us to fend for ourselves after we've paid for decades for the older generations' care. If that happens, you'd better hope for both your sake and your children's that they can afford to care for you!
    =================================================================================
    Don't you mean that you better hope your children can afford to pay for you!

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

    Yeah, to pay for your care. Splitting hairs a bit aren't you?

    January 27, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Bush would have killed for numbers that high

    OH WAIT – HE DID KILL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

    I forgot how PRO-LIFE Republiturds are.

    January 27, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Demigod Vadik, CA

    After a relentless 6 month attack by the Conservatives in addition to with the NSA spying mess, Obamacare roll-out mess and a shutdown, anyone's poll number would be low...

    ...but they are climbing again...

    January 27, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. SpgfldTom

    Where do they find the people who think Obama is doing a good job at anything? In the West Wing of the White House? At Oprah's house? At an ObamaCare Call Center?

    January 27, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Polar Bear

    And set to keep going lower...........

    January 27, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Jay Lomiko

    Obama:

    MA Fella Americans
    We are strong and free, that is our state.
    You See I NEEDS to have Lobster and Steak, and YOU ,.. YOU NEEDS to have Mcdonalds and Burger Kings Dollar Menu

    I let Iran have Nukes so if you don't vote of Hillary,.... You Get nuked,m.. that was the deal

    Good night!

    January 27, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Marcus (from...?)

    hkirwin – as far as I recall, the division started right on the first day of President Obama's first term, with that vow or promise or whatever you call it that 'we' (the GOP) had to do everything they could to make him a one term president.
    President Obama was too naive to believe that NO ONE would endanger a country on the verge of a new Depression to take that public vow/promise/whatever as seriously as he should have had...
    It took him two or three years to realize that the GOP really meant it, regardless of the consequences... that you pin on the POTUS.

    January 27, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. srcactus

    Truth be known, this administration, including the rubber stampers of the democratic party have done their deeds fro themselves, by them selves and to the people that they are intended to serve. The examples are many but the most prominent is Obamacare a law was objectionable to majority when it was passed and has more disapproval now and the deed is being more rigorously defended by the political elite that passed the mess. To be sure the republican elite escape blame on this one but they too are certainly capable of the same bad behavior. Clean house and lets try again with a less comfortable band of thieves.

    January 27, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. Fish

    The President is paying the price of the ACA an ill-conceived, non-coordinated giveaway to the health insurance industry. He did not listen at all t anyone before embarking on his venture and it seems he is unwilling to work with anyone till the end!!! I cannot understand this man no matter how I try, He is an Island devoid of logic!!!

    January 27, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Duane St.Pete FL

    Hummmm...cash for clunkers, fast and furious debacle, Benghazi, IRS admitted targeting of conservatives, most people ever on food stamps, economy still in the toilet, unemployment still high, our debt will be at 20 trillion once he leaves office, complete disaster of a healthcare web site...ongoing, "you can keep your doctors and your plan you like" lie.......and it goes on. You liberals must be so proud.....lol

    January 27, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Malory Archer

    Polar Bear

    And set to keep going lower...........

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

    Yeah, except according to the chart above, they're getting higher. Reading comprehension not one of your strong points, huh?

    January 27, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Nicole

    This Prez is a decent guy but so was Jimmy Carter. Jimmy is a now more effective as a civilian than as a president.

    January 27, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. M1

    synopsis of speech by Obama
    "me, me, I, I, lie, lie lie, etc."

    January 27, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    @M1 and all other haters, chew on these FACTS:

    President Obama's poll numbers are no lower than any other President except for George Bush of the past 30 years at this point in his presidency. Ronald Reagan was lower in his poll numbers than this President at this point in time. The only one who was the lowest was GW Bush.

    January 27, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. dave

    “They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”– Obama

    January 27, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. ObamaFailure

    Worst president ever
    We went from $10 trillion which is all presidents combined to $18 Trillion in Obamas first 5 years. Irans thisclose to having a nuke, terrorists are taking over Iraq, unemployment is 8%, no justice for Benghazi except lies about a YouTube video and the IRS being used to target Americans like some nazi regime would do. Obama is a clown

    January 28, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
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