CNN Poll: Public upset over VA scandal; Obama remains at 43%
June 3rd, 2014
04:00 PM ET
2 months ago

CNN Poll: Public upset over VA scandal; Obama remains at 43%

Washington (CNN) - Nearly six in ten Americans give President Barack Obama a thumbs-down on how he is handling the Veterans Affairs controversy, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday indicates that the scandal at VA hospitals doesn't seem to be affecting the President's overall approval rating, which remains at 43%, identical to the last CNN poll conducted a month ago. The survey also indicates that Obama scores some of his highest numbers on the environment and terrorism, two other issues in the spotlight this week.

Read the full CNN/ORC International poll results

According to the poll, 58% say they disapprove of how the President's handling the VA scandal, with 37% saying they approve of Obama's actions.

The Veterans Affairs controversy has mushroomed since CNN first reported last November on allegations of alarming shortcomings within the VA medical care system that potentially have had deadly consequences in dozens of cases.

The most disturbing and striking problems emerged in Arizona last month, with sources revealing to CNN details of a secret waiting list for treatment. According to the sources, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix, Arizona, VA medical center.

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Republican calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign grew over the past month, and after the release last week of a damaging preliminary report from the VA's inspector general's office, a bunch of congressional Democrats also said it was time for Shinseki to step down. On Friday, the President announced that the secretary had handed in his resignation.

Nearly seven in ten agreed with Shinseki's move to resign, with 22% saying the embattled secretary shouldn't have stepped down. And nearly half questioned said the scandal made them angry, with another fifth saying it made them upset.

Obama's overall approval rating stands at 43%, with 55% saying they disapprove of the job he is doing in the White House.

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"Obama's approval rating has not budged since March, when it hit 43%. That's par for the course for the President, whose job approval numbers have been stuck in the mid-to-low 40s for nearly a year," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"The President doesn't get a majority approving of his track record on any of the 12 issues tested in our poll, but his highest scores come on terrorism and environmental policy, with 49% approving of how he is handling both of those issues," Holland added.

It should be noted that most interviews in the poll were conducted before any news broke of the controversial transfer of five terror prisoners from the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive in Afghanistan by the Taliban for five years. And the survey was conducted mostly before news of Monday's announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency to dramatically limit carbon pollution.

"Given the administration's emphasis on environmental policy this week, it's worth noting that the number of Americans who say that the environment is the top issue has quadrupled since last year," added Holland. "But only 8% today name the environment as their top concern."

That puts the issue a distant fourth behind economic matters (40%), health care (19%), and the deficit (15%). According to the poll, more than six in ten disapprove of how the President's handling those three issues.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from May 29 to June 1, with 1,003 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

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soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. freedom

    His ratings should be much lower – and before now! Now we have terrorists released in exchange for a deserter. When will this madness stop? The seeds will be planted and he'll be long gone out of office when the next disaster strikes. This administration is planting very bad seeds.

    June 3, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    Yesterday, the Stock Market broke a record. Obama is destroying this Country.

    June 3, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well clutch the pearls.... How will he ever be reelected for his 3rd term??? Oh silly me, he's declared himself Dictator or Emperor or is it King?? I forget.
    FIFY

    Now what exactly are Congress' approval ratings since they are facing reelection this fall?

    June 3, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. MICK

    Releasing 5 terrorists isn't going to help... it's as if obama is TRYING to do this to us.

    June 3, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Last month, the US Economy recovered ALL Jobs lost in the Graet Bush Recession. Obama is destroying this Country.

    June 3, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. otlset

    The blind continue to be led. All hail the deluded Obamabots, who got us into this mess by voting for the turkey in the White House in the first place.

    June 3, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    The US Military is no longer in Iraq & in 2015 there will be less than 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan. Obama is destroying this Country.

    June 3, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. claudius1964

    No.... that's an old scandal..... we have so many new ones to concern ourselves about.

    June 3, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Bronco Bomma

    You know what I'm angry about? The fact that Obama's response to the VA scandal was a month slower than his response to Treyvon Martin.

    June 3, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Jimmy

    I wonder who they are polling.You can't find anyone now that admits they voted for Obama.43% sounds way out of line to me.

    June 3, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Dbleagle77

    So on the subject that only 8% of respondents care about, he's doing fine. The rest of the issues that people actually care about, he seems to be in a bit of trouble. At least CNN is being honest about the numbers. Generally when they report a 40/60 split on approval they couch it as "nearly half of all respondents are happy with the President's performance". And when it's 55/45 on a particular subject, in his favor, they couch it as "The vast majority of Americans support the President".

    June 3, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Lizzie

    Sonny... So you're approving of the EVIL corporations to make money

    June 3, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. just asking

    Obama's overall approval rating stands at 43%, with 55% saying they disapprove of the job he is doing in the White House.
    "Obama's approval rating has not budged since March, when it hit 43%. That's par for the course for the President, whose job approval numbers have been stuck in the mid-to-low 40s for nearly a year," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
    "The President doesn't get a majority approving of his track record on any of the 12 issues tested in our poll, but his highest scores come on terrorism and environmental policy, with 49% approving of how he is handling both of those issues," Holland added.
    --

    43% apporval rating at this point indicates we have a large number of brain dead clueless people in this country. or maybe the poll was taken in california or chicago? either way, it is shocking that 43% could approve of this nightmare and daily disaster.

    June 3, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    The most disturbing and striking problems emerged in Arizona last month, with sources revealing to CNN details of a secret waiting list for treatment. According to the sources, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix, Arizona, VA medical center.
    -------------------------–
    You are misrepresenting the facts when you cite that figure without noting that it dates back to 2001. You make it sound as if 40 veterans have died since Pres. Obama took office.

    June 3, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Jim B

    Amazing it is only 6 in 10 thumbs down? The rest probably know nothing about it. the Obama administration is just inept, naïve, and incompetent.

    June 3, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. sly

    The public should be angry about the VA scandel – but that's what you get when you have a health care system that banned 50 million Americans – many war vets – from health care.

    I'm sure our President's approval will go up quite a bit after the heroic freedom for our POW.

    And all Americans should applaud Obama for having the guts to fight for clean air and the enforcement of the 1970's Clean Air Act. Coal was great in the 1880's, but it's time for technology to rule, and carbon credits are our only chance to save the species.

    June 3, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Spgfld Tom

    Where does CNN find the 43% who think Obama is doing a good job? Gitmo detainees awaiting release? Did CNN call Harry Reid's house? I'm willing to bet no veterans were called or middle class families who will see their electric bills quadtruple as the result of Obama's mystical science.

    June 3, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. spudnik56

    The public...how cute...the general public are by and large, clueless. They do not know that the VA has always been broken even in its best years. The GOP in all their idiotic splendor has politicized something that is known by all vets, the VA is and always has been crappy. Wow...pitiful...

    June 3, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. sonny crapman

    record unemployment, record debt, killing our vets, releasing terrorists, violating our laws, refusing to enforce our immigration laws, irs, benghazi, ap, etc. and yet 43%? wow, we are a very stupid country.

    June 3, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. PK

    The VA has been broken for decades and if you read the history, centuries. Nothing new here and our great congress has never bothered to fix it and just holds meaningless investigations that go nowhere and do nothing partly because it will cost money at the bottom tier where it would do most good.

    June 3, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Joe

    Just another minor issue that will recede...unlike his predecessor, who had real catastrophes (9/11, Irag, Torture, Meltdown of Economy.) Hey, whatever happened to Russia taking over the Ukraine? Oh, and the VA is messed up? Wow, that's news...in similar "news": The sun comes up in the east and summer is warmer than winter.

    June 3, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Liberally Challenged

    @Sonny Chapman, you do know that the major cause of the 'Graet Bush Recession" was Clinton's repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, right?

    June 3, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Nornalize those numbers

    Approval ratings mean nothing for Obama because large swaths of the population support him because of his skin color. Obama could nuke a US city and they would still support him. Performance and competentcy NVER comes into play with this group.

    June 3, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. rs

    just asking

    Obama's overall approval rating stands at 43%, with 55% saying they disapprove of the job he is doing in the White House.
    "Obama's approval rating has not budged since March, when it hit 43%. That's par for the course for the President, whose job approval numbers have been stuck in the mid-to-low 40s for nearly a year," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
    "The President doesn't get a majority approving of his track record on any of the 12 issues tested in our poll, but his highest scores come on terrorism and environmental policy, with 49% approving of how he is handling both of those issues," Holland added.

    43% apporval rating at this point indicates we have a large number of brain dead clueless people in this country. or maybe the poll was taken in california or chicago? either way, it is shocking that 43% could approve of this nightmare and daily disaster.
    _________________________
    or JS, the more obvious point is that the GOP's lies and conspiracies and "scandals" about everything aren't as convincing to the entire populace as they are to Right-wingers. You should take note: House Republicans still have a less than 20% approval rating. Your party died- please haul off the body.

    June 3, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. rs

    Jimmy

    I wonder who they are polling.You can't find anyone now that admits they voted for Obama.43% sounds way out of line to me.
    _______________________
    That is because you and your party abandoned Science- polling IS a Science.

    June 3, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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