CNN Poll: Public upset over VA scandal; Obama remains at 43%
June 3rd, 2014
04:00 PM ET
4 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. grace

    And 43% of Americans receive government assistance..

    you don't suppose..

    June 3, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Tim

    Romney was nearly correct when he said 47% of the votes would go to Obama no matter what he did. We all tie ourselves to a wagon and we all become the immovable core. Politicians know this...they count on it. Both Bush and Obama have put the lessons out there for us...we will support those who lie to us if they

    June 3, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. sly

    Just like Benghazi, the Republicans have blood on their hands.

    Refused 3 times to provide security for Benghazi – they were 'shutting down government' they said.

    Voted againest the VA bill to provide funding for veterans – they were still busy 'shutting down government'.

    Shame.

    June 3, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Jimmy
    Yeah, just like you couldn't find people who would actually say they voted for Bush a second time.

    June 3, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Joseph

    Most Americas know that the Republicans have voted down every bill that has been put to a vote to enhance veterans benefits. But in the end the blame falls at the feet of the American people, you have never made your vets a priority.

    June 3, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. PaulCat

    Obama also said the sun rise in the east and set in the west.
    He also said the sky is blue and grass is green.

    June 3, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. CSM

    Yeah.. like most people, I'm angry about the inept VA as well, but make no mistake. The GOP is probably more at fault here for cutting funding in the past for VA programs. I do not fault the president but I do fault the secretary of the VA who resigned and likely there should be some staff shakeups, removals, etc at VA hospitals to ensure this doesn't happen again. Faulting the president however is barking up the wrong tree.

    June 3, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "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."
    '
    Most blatantly mentally ill comment of the day. Good for you.

    June 3, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    Nothing warms the heart like seeing someone Crap on your name. Do you consider yourself a follower of the Teachings Jesus as found in the Four Gospels ? Treat others as you would like to be treated. Matthew 7,12.

    June 3, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. SniffinPoopSki

    Let's face it, Obama has brought us down so much for so long, nobody knows what good is anymore. People are just happy to be surviving the Obama Nightmare.

    June 3, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "You can't find anyone now that admits they voted for Obama"

    LOL. Viv la Bubble!

    June 3, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    @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."

    I should never eat while reading your posts, Donna: Just did a spit take over this latest one.

    You really are a fool!

    June 3, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @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."

    I should never eat while reading your posts, Donna: Just did a spit take over this latest one.

    You really are a fool!

    June 3, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Sniffit

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

    After a very VERY bipartisan vote passed that repeal? Yeah...it certainly contributed to the problem...thanks to EVERYONE. Now, two questions:

    1. Which party's ideology does that repeal actually conform to? and

    2. Which party admits it was a mistake and which party tries every day to rationalize it away as having almost nothing to do with the recession?

    June 3, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Tim

    Romney was nearly correct when he said 47% of the votes would go to Obama no matter what he (Romney) did. I wonder what our government and nation would look like if we all demanded honesty and sought to unseat those who lie no matter what party the individual belonged. Then again, we have painted the other side to be so bad we are too fearful to do that so we accept mistreatment and disrespect from those who kissed our rears with warm lovely words and demonized the other side with fictional stories. Unfortunately, our fellow citizens, in this case, have sometimes paid for it with their lives but let us not allow that to alter our behavior and cause us to be responsible for what we accept as 'leaders' from any party.

    June 3, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    @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!"

    My father served 30 years in the Army, with no choice as to where he was transferred nor for how long he was stationed. He served and sacrificed for his country and more than deserves his lifetime medical care.

    June 3, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Republicans in the Senate filibustered the Veterans Aid bill THREE times claiming there was no funding for it.

    Indeed. And do you know WHY they filibustered it? Because they were yet again selfishly holding things hostage, demanding that ransom in the form of repeals and defunding of the ACA being made a part of the legislation. They essentially told our veterans that their funding for the VA is not as important as their partisan political stunts to try to overturn the ACA and damage Obama.

    June 3, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, hey. Another poll.

    Lets see. The majority of Americans think blah, blah, blah is a major voting issue, but blah, blah, blah stands in their way of caring enough to:

    (A) vote

    (B) tune in (all time record lows for cable news, network news, internet news of a political nature)

    (C) whatever else polling suggests we ought to think is our major concern (w/out facts shoring up the polling data because ... well, they're telling us the majority of Americans think blah, blah, blah so yeah, we think blah, blah, blah)

    June 3, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. President Messiah Darkness

    Who cares what my approval ratings are! I can do whatever I want, to whoever I want to do it to. Just ask that video maker dude. Cross me and you can share his cell with him. The government is mine to do whatever I damn well please. I dare you to impeach me. Laws are merely a suggestion to me and most of the time I choose to not obey the laws. They are really just there to keep the common folk in line. You silly small people amuse me.

    June 3, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Pete/Ark

    The basic problem makes me unbelievably angry ... the knee-jerk reaction of the public and Congress in ONLY wanting to find a scapegoat rather than nailing the people DIRECTLY responsible makes me disgustedly angry ... as a combat Veteran I use (and TRUST) my local VAMC ... it's a damned shame that politics and passion will prevent others from having the care I have ...

    June 3, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    It has been awhile since we've last seen a full poll from CNN. What's up with that?

    June 3, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Demigod Vadik, CA

    I dont expect a President to singlehandedly run the VA, but for the love of God make sure the guy running it knows what the heck he/she is doing...

    ...I have to admit that Shinseki fooled me too, I thought he'd be a good choice, but he proved otherwise...he dropped the ball big time...

    ...if you dont believe me that I and a lot of people thought Shinseki was a good choice, go look at his record prior being assigned to the VA...I dont mind when bad people let me down, it is when the good ones do that it hurts the most...

    June 3, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. smith

    Obama`s approval rating is down, no big surprise here. I would say all politicians approval rating are down in general. Scandals are on both sides, everyday some poltician is in hot water

    June 3, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Yeah. Obama has polled between 43 – 48 for the past 5 years now. Give it up, CNN. It's an old, old song and dance tune that has long ago reached its sell by date.

    June 3, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. tinykhan

    Pffft, who cares. Majority of Americans give nothing but lip service to us vets. We support you, we are angry at the VA...then disappear into their own lives.

    June 3, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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