Foreign policy helps push Obama to new low
June 18th, 2014
11:40 AM ET
2 months ago

Foreign policy helps push Obama to new low

Washington (CNN) - It's a new low for President Barack Obama.

Facing numerous international challenges, including the new bloodshed in Iraq, the civil war in Syria, and the fighting in Ukraine, as well as the controversial swapping of five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for the release of a U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicates just 37% of Americans say they approve of how the President's handling foreign policy. That's an all time low in NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling.

The survey's Wednesday release comes a week after a CNN/ORC International poll indicated that only 40% of the public gave Obama a thumbs up on foreign policy, matching an all-time low for the President on the issue in CNN polling.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted mostly before the capture of major swaths of northern and central Iraq by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) dominated the news cycle, and the CNN poll was conducted entirely before those events. As a result, neither survey completely reflects any changes in public opinion due to the crisis in Iraq. Nonetheless, both polls indicate a growing dissatisfaction among Americans over how Obama has handled major international flashpoints and national security controversies.

"Another wild card is the capture yesterday of Benghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala, so it will take several days to be able to measure how that event has affected views of Obama," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And if Obama takes military action in Iraq, he might get a boost in support due to what pollsters sometimes call a 'rally-round-the-flag effect'. So a week or two from now, Obama's numbers on foreign policy could be up, down, or anywhere in between."

Can Obama lead the country?

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll also indicate that the public's questioning the President's ability to run the government and lead the country.

Fifty-four percent of those questioned said they don't feel Obama's able to lead the country and get the job done, with 42% saying they're confident he can lead and get the job done.

According to the poll, 11% said they very confident in the way the Obama administration was managing the federal government, with 39% saying somewhat confident, 19% saying not too confident and just over three in ten saying they were not confident at all in the administration's performance.

The percentage of those who said they were not confident at all has jumped 10-percentage points over the past year, with those who said they were very confident dropping six points.

The new poll comes as the scandal rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs has dominated headlines the past month. It's the latest controversy of the past year, following the NSA snooping scandal, the controversy over the IRS targeting of some conservative non-profit groups, and the rough rollout of the new federal health care law.

New CNN Poll of Polls

The President's overall approval rating in the new survey stands at 41%, matching an all-time low in NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling.

A new CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Wednesday morning, indicates the President's approval rating stands at 42%. The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the three non-partisan, live operator surveys of Obama's approval rating that were conducted over the past two weeks: Gallup daily tracking poll (June 14-16); NBC News/Wall Street Journal (June 11-15) and Bloomberg (June 6-9). Since it is an average of multiple surveys, the CNN Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

The President's approval rating in CNN Poll of Poll averages stood at 47% a year ago, but dipped to 41% last November and December. The average edged up slightly to 43% in the late winter and early spring.

So how does Obama's approval compare to his most recent two-term predecessors in the White House at this point in their presidencies?

President George W. Bush stood at 36% in June of 2006, Bill Clinton was at 60% in June of 1998, and Ronald Reagan stood at 64% in June of 1986.

There is a silver lining in the new poll for the President. As low as his numbers are, only 29% have a favorable view of the Republican Party.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted June 11-15, with 1,000 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. freedom

    Obama's support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt started this downward spiral of America's standing and security in the world. He is either the most incompetent Commander-in-Chief this country has ever seen, or his loyalties are with the enemy.

    June 18, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Lily

    Unless one doesn't understand that Pres. Obama is a man to make changes happen. Thats what he believes, thats what he campaigned for, and thats what we voted him for. If he does things differently , those of us who understand why he is doing so, we really understand. He has to change how things and changes can not happen repeating doing the same thing.

    June 18, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This nation is beyond help if they are going to blame Obama for not going back into Iraq."

    The Fear Factor. They're afraid. Not surprising ... they've been spoon fed "be scared, be very very scared" since 9/11. That the media has helped push this is beyond disgusting.

    June 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Tommy G

    It is VERY SCARY that 37% approve. It means there are 37% that are either brain dead or are enemies of the USA living here.

    June 18, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. pappyvanwinkle

    Who cares what the percentage of survey-completing people think about Obama and his last term in office. First of all he isn't up for re-election so there is little to no concern about what citizens think of his performance or policies. He'll still be set and protected for life. Second of all, who are these people who fill out polls and why are they suddenly representative of the entire nation's opinion? As if any of this matters AT ALL in any industry or national consideration.

    June 18, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. pappyvanwinkle

    Who cares what the percentage of survey-completing people think about Obama and his last term in office? First of all he isn't up for re-election so there is little to no concern about what citizens think of his performance or policies. He'll still be set and protected for life. Second of all, who are these people who fill out polls and why are they suddenly representative of the entire nation's opinion? As if any of this matters AT ALL in any industry or national consideration.

    June 18, 2014 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @rs
    yolanda

    @Silence. Is it possible for you to respond without invoking GWB? Try getting some new (6 years is a long time) material. We all know that Bush did a crap job in Iraq. LBJ did a crap job in Viet Nam. Reagan blessed us with Irangate. Why do you blindly support the current administration? Yes, there have been successes, but there have been screw ups as well.
    ___________________________
    You know, it is a fool who fails to see cause and effect. Face it, we are facing a disaster in Iraq simply because of the disaster in Iraq perpetrated by Misters Bush and Cheney and company. You know, we will always have the Bush Administration to show off as the high-water mark for idiocy in office. You need to acknowledge that, because failing to do so reduces he credibility of level of your screed to what one find's in cat litter boxes.
    ---------–
    OK – leave the last part of my remark off and the remainder still stands.
    How about I stop using Bush's name after Obama finishes cleaning up his mess.

    June 18, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. love344

    Rick I think you are the inept, criminal.. not the president

    June 18, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Thank God we have pollsters helping decide whether or not we return to war in Iraq. Chances are if he did resume the war in Iraq his poll numbers might eventually hit the single digits GOPerville has been praying.

    Oh wait ... this is what McCain and company are hoping and pushing for. So, how about we leave it to Congress to vote yea or nay on a rerun Iraqi war?

    Cue the right wing talking points popcorn

    June 18, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "his loyalties are with the enemy."

    LOL. Keep it up guys. The "say the most extreme thing possible" strategy is working great for you...I promise. Please proceed...

    June 18, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @freedom
    Obama's support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt started this downward spiral of America's standing and security in the world. He is either the most incompetent Commander-in-Chief this country has ever seen, or his loyalties are with the enemy.
    -------
    Obama: stopped repeat 9/11, brought US soldiers home, kill terrorists, captured terrorists
    Bush: invaded the wrong country killing 1000's of US soldiers, ignored 9/11 warnings
    Who is the most incompetent?

    June 18, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. CALIFORNIA

    I'm shocked he's that high.

    June 18, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. freedom

    And Hilary totally supports Obama's foreign policy – and even helped implement it -which led to the assassinations in Benghazi. The democrats are all in the same camp – with the same corrupt and destructive agenda. Why aren't any of them speaking out against the president? Because they're just as corrupt as he is.

    June 18, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Lily
    Unless one doesn't understand that Pres. Obama is a man to make changes happen. Thats what he believes, thats what he campaigned for, and thats what we voted him for. If he does things differently , those of us who understand why he is doing so, we really understand. He has to change how things and changes can not happen repeating doing the same thing.
    -----------–
    You are so correct. But you are casting pearls before the Tea Party / Conspiracy swine.

    June 18, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. salty dog

    Your so right freedom, but wouldn't going to war, based on lies to personally enrich yourself,killing thousands of patriotic americans be something an enemy would do, you simply can't handle the truth. How utterly ignorant .

    June 18, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Hooper

    For those tired of hearing how it's all the fault of the current administration, please do one thing in the fall and again in 2016, Vote. Get inspired and participate in one of our countries most sacred freedoms. VOTE.

    June 18, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Logan

    Obama is the joke that keeps on giving. Hope he enjoys swimming the rest of his term with the boat anchor stuck in the rocks.

    June 18, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. yeahright

    only 29% have a favorable view of the Republican Party.

    t is VERY SCARY that 29% approve. It means there are 29% that are either brain dead or are enemies of the USA living here.

    FIFY

    June 18, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. yolanda

    @RS and @SIlence, please read my post. I opened by saying that Bush did a crap job vis-a-vis Iraq. Too bad that RS is more intent on attacking than reading. Don't confuse me with a Bush apologist, I am not a blind fan of either party. It amazes me how quickly and uniformly the Obama followers lash out at any suggestion of less than deity status for #44. Your unwillingness to acknowledge his fallibility undermines your (collective). I await the inevitable lecture/tutorial from @Rudy......

    June 18, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. ???

    Why did we take the missing jet? Laugh if you wish but it landed at Diego Garcia, why no debris, why no talk of radar contact from there, its a us military base for crying out loud.,its last undisputed contact put it headed that way, a sighting over the Maldives was very very quickly dismissed, why? Too much coincidence for my old mind. The technology being developed by the team on board is interesting .

    June 18, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. otlset

    "The Obama presidency is over" - formerly reliable MSNBC Obama sycophant Chuck Todd

    June 18, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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