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. sonny chapman

    The % of Americans w/out Health Insurance is going down & no Health Insurance can deny covering an illness as a Pre-Existing Condition. Obama is destroying this Nation.

    June 3, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. tekk

    Q: How did the president handle the VA issue? A: What did he do? Oh, you mean did he accept the resignation of his appointed secretary in a timely manner? Sure, thumbs up! Other than that what did he do? I'm still waiting for "news reports" like Jay to determine what was actually done.

    June 3, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Donna

    This is a liberal polling company. Guaranteed the numbers are skewed. They won't let Obama slide into the 30s which is where is most likely is.

    June 3, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "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."
    ---------------------------–
    Nope, they're not brain dead. Polls also show the Tea Party approval rating has dropped 50% to the low 20s. Congress is polling in the teens and nearing single digits, and a plurality would rather have Democrats fix the economy than Republicans.

    June 3, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "According to the sources"

    Who shall never be named so their credibility and personal knowledge of what they talked about and the veracity of their claims can never ever ever be tested.

    June 3, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Mike

    The VA should be eliminated. 1) It's socialist healthcare. The government owns it, not private industry. 2) It will save taxpayers money. 3) Veterans already get too many benifits. The government should provide a benifit (through private healthcare) only to those who suffered a combat injury and only to treat that injury!

    June 3, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Larry Bishop

    You get every bit of Government you vote for. Just wait until we get single payer health care, then we will have the same problems the VA , Canada and the EU are dealing with all in the name of progress. We went from the nation that invented medical greats like the organ transplant to tossing vets in the trash. Progress!

    June 3, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. JP

    @Sonny – How about these stats? Record #'s on Food Stamps. Food prices rising steadily. Record # of people have given up looking for jobs (inflating how good the unemployment number looks). Federal Debt at RECORD levels with no end in sight. Big pieces of Obamacare legislation such as mandatory insurance have not taken effect yet. VA scandal, Bengahzi scandal, IRS scandal...................

    June 3, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    Lizzie, not all Corporations are EVIL. Those that pollute, don't pay taxes, treat their workers like numbers & Out Source is bad for America. Corporations are NOT people; they don't get sick & need Med Treatment, they don't go to War & get blown up, they don't struggle to educate their children. They aren't capable of being EVIL.

    June 3, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Ol' Yeller

    I really want to see this level of concern for the Vets after the republicants have finished utilizing the issue for a club to beat on the President with. Since the righties are so concerned for our Vets and 'support our troops' like no one else, then I want to see the rightie posters on here applauding Sander's bill to fix this problem (rather than crying and whining and wringing your hands about it). Sander's bill addresses and fixes the problems (or attempts to, which is more than I can say for any republicant bill), but you can bet that once this issue serves it purpose (as another avenue to criticize President Obama), then it will be dropped like a hot rock and never mentioned again (until they can blame another Dem for something else). This is not like a new problem and with his predessor adding even more and more Vets to the rolls by invading any country that might have an unsecured quart of oil (but isn't Saudi Arabia) I don't know what you folks expect.
    I'm really not surprised as to this originating in a bright RED state ran by some not so bright righties who probably sold all those VA Admin positions to their rich buddies... who also don't give a crap about our Vets unless it is politically beneficial to do so.

    June 3, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. BadNews overload

    Americans still understand only the partial truth due to a negligent press. If or when the full truth is reported, expect the 43% job approval to head south.

    June 3, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "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."

    Wow...there isn't enough yawn in the universe for hat one. You're just mad he had ANY response about Treyvon Martin.

    June 3, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "The rest of the issues that people actually care about, he seems to be in a bit of trouble"

    Not when compared to the approval ratings for the GOP/Teatrolls on those issues. Of course, CNN doesn't talk about those numbers...just like in the article down the page where they focused on numbers about Benghazi in the survey but then left out the part of the survey that showed he's still scoring higher than the GOP/Teatrolls on it. You're being played like fiddles.

    June 3, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Mays

    Just seeing the people here every once in while you know neither Obama's pathetic job performance or lack of leadership will ever change his approval with his base.

    June 3, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. sonny crapman

    Obama really has nothing to do with the stock market. I just like to give him credit for things he doesn't do. Otherwise he'd have nothing good to claim. I know, it isn't honest but nothing about Obama is honest.

    June 3, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Hillary

    Ok, THE PUBLIC, here is 1003 people called on a phone, mostly republicans. The public.

    June 3, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Mr. Pozzunm

    I voted for Obama and I will certainly vote a Democrat ticket again in 2016. I was never asked to take a poll but I do know that G.W. Bush had a much lower rating.

    June 3, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. sonny crapman

    The US Military is no longer in Iraq thanks to George Bush & in 2015 there will be less than 10,000 Troops in Afghanistan after Obama escalated the troop levels and had most of the Americas killed in Afghainistan while he was President. Obama is destroying this Country.

    June 3, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. thinchliff

    Just asking-
    "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.
    You guys really crack me up! Mostly you bark on and on about how CNN is the left-wings media. In the next breath you quote them. All I see from you people is hatred. Pure hatred. You get on these boards and express it day after day. In your mind, everything wrong in the country is the President's fault. Everything. Well it is about time someone told you that everything is this country is OUR fault. Our fault for electing the same plutocratic money junkies year after year expecting things to improve when they actually just get worse. Our fault for not holding people accountable and our fault for the outpouring of hatred out of their own personal fears.

    June 3, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. jackie

    President Obama is the BEST I don't know what you people are talking about. America is supporting President Obama he can go anywhere at anytime and stand up for US, you Evil people who are mad that A Black Man is in the White House get over it just wait until Hillary and Elizabeth Warren are in office . President and Vice what you gonna do then, go crazier than you are now.

    June 3, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Mr. Pozzunm

    hey teabaggers, you still have your guns, are not being forced into FEMA camps, and are not living under Shira law. Give it a break losers.

    June 3, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. SOUTHERN SNOTTIE

    Yeah, so what if Obama is incompetent and most people know it. But he is OUR ncompetent clown and we love him dearly. Keep up the bad work Barack. We will support you no matter how badly you suck.

    June 3, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Chris-E...al

    Its probably 33 percent then maybe ? Nobody likes a cheating lying law breaker . Most dont really like law makers if your honest ?

    June 3, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. BeverlyNC

    Tell those who are angry to hold Republicans responsible this November. Republicans in the Senate filibustered the Veterans Aid bill THREE times claiming there was no funding for it. Sure can find funding for the unneeded items in the military budget and subsidies in the billions for oil companies.
    Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is head of the Veterans Committee and he even filibustered it.
    The bill was to build 3 more centers for the exploding demand for mental healthcare and the money to hire mental healthcare professionals.
    If Republicans are going to send our soldiers off to war so eagerly then they should stand up for caring for them when they come home. Filibustering funding for needed resources betrays our soldiers.
    Republicans stand for nothing but corporations. Nothing else matters to them but corporate cash for campaigns. Everything else gets left behind. No More Republicans and the People will have leaders who get legislation passed benefitting the People who elected them.

    June 3, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Mr. Dank Stuff

    Obama should close Gitmo all together. It was a dumb move to put those mooslums there in the first place

    June 3, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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