Foreign policy helps push Obama to new low
June 18th, 2014
11:40 AM ET
3 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. Lizzie

    "Another wild card is the capture yesterday of Beghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala,
    He was living at his mothers house in Benghazi, he was not hiding.

    June 18, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Silence DoGood

    Lizzie
    "Another wild card is the capture yesterday of Beghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala,
    He was living at his mothers house in Benghazi, he was not hiding."
    ------------
    If you think so little of the danger our special forces face, next time they will get some popcorn and watch you bring in a dangerous terrorist from any house you choose. Remember Obama has been exemplary in his use of the military to target actual bad guys as opposed to W that invaded the whole wrong country.

    June 18, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. YoonYoungJo

    Although I agree with nearly all of Obama's domestic agenda and policy, I tend to only agree about 50/50 with his foreign policy. I agree with his ideology of inclusion and discussion. I agree with his belief diplomacy should always be the paramount approach when dealing with foreign entities. My only issue is, how O typically deals with foreign entities when diplomacy fails or diplomacy has not been done with any sense of honesty. Obviously countries are always going to conduct a certain amount of posturing and manuevering, but there is a difference between posturing and manuevering and just outright lying and deception. In Obama's defense though there have been some landmark accomplishments. Iran is one example. Now it's still too early to tell, but if Iran does continue to negotiate away from nuclear weapons, that is a huge step.

    June 18, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Marie MD

    @lizzie, you think these terrorists are in the phone book? Do you really think he has been at mommy's for two years?
    Your and your part of teatards are the reason our President's foreign policy ratings are so low. Everyone, left and right, continue to bring us humans like Darth cheney, bremer, the Canadian terrorist , coburn, ms lindsay and losers like mccain and the twit to speak about something they either don't know about or caused it.
    Eighty percent (80%) of Americans ( don't listen to the drunk orange man) don't want another war!!!!!

    June 18, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. 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.

    June 18, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    37%... I'm truly amazed it's that high.

    June 18, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. Mike Hunt

    Ever since 2008 the focus has been on the sub-par performance of the American economy. I have a feeling that foreign policy is going to be predominant in the future. Obama's focus has been on domestic issues, particularly social programs. Whether he likes it or not he is going to have to start focusing on foreign policy.

    June 18, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Uh-oh. Guess I won't be voting for him after all come 2016 ;(

    June 18, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. rs

    Interesting inasmuch as Mr. Obama's foreign policy has been rather successful on many levels. Is the one metric that the GOP has so irrationally set themselves on fire over so many fictitious and purposefully misrepresented events?

    June 18, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Lizzie

    Silence ... and Mary, so we should congratulate the reporters for interviewing him in the face of danger.

    June 18, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    It looks like Fox-Lite is working overtime to prevent him from his 3rd term.....

    FIFY

    Bin Laden dead, Khadafy dead, and the Benghazi guy captured yet he sinks to new lows. Let's face it. This POTUS will never be given credit for anything positive.

    June 18, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. 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.

    June 18, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Leede

    He has a foreign policy? I guess its all that work on creating a robust economy with more jobs – haha.

    June 18, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Did Mexico return the US Marine with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who stupidly crossed the border with firearms in his truck ?

    Mr. President , start there , keep it simple .

    American foreign policy has become a Band Aid policy. Clinton , GW Bush and Obama have let the State Department become the department of motor vehicles .

    I have deep concern that Hillary Clinton , former secretary of state didn't see what as going down in Iraq , I also ask why she supported the invasion into Iraq in the first place when she was a senator .

    June 18, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Gosh, that third term just proves sooooo very elusive for these guys, eh?

    Next up: CNN burns the polling results showing gross majorities of the Amurikan public can't point at Benghazi on a map, don't know where Syria is or the name of its leaders, can't tell you what "SOFA" stands for and think Christianity is the majority religion on the planet....followed immediately by more of CNN carefully avoiding any reporting on the fact that the guy they captured, who organized the attack in Benghazi, has literally stated that it was partly in revenge for "the video."

    June 18, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Dead Bear

    I'm surprised that the Republican party is viewed favorably amongst 29% of the people surveyed considering their constant obstruction and opposition is just as much to blame if not more for foreign policy failures. Any of you Tea Party traitors ever hear of a unified front?

    June 18, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. yeahright

    only 29% have a favorable view of the Republican Party

    I'm truly amazed that it's that high.

    June 18, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Let's face it, nothing this POTUS does is ever right to many in this country. And especially the MSM, that has kicked into overdrive trying to stop his 3rd term.

    June 18, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Gunderson

    Please, Please,
    No clues! Let me get this on my own. Shut up. Eat your peas. I am in charge here.

    June 18, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    "Another wild card is the capture yesterday of Beghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala,
    He was living at his mothers house in Benghazi, he was not hiding.
    --------------------------------–
    Your remark demonstrates a lack of rational thought and a rush to judgment.

    I can think of several reasons why they may not have grabbed him until now. First, and foremost, would be to observe him, to find out who and where his contacts are. Secondly, the guy was meeting frequently with the media. Capturing him in the middle of an interview would give the appearance that the media was involved in his capture. Thirdly, the guy was living within a small slice of life, and they have finally learned all that they will ever learn through observation.

    June 18, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. TONE

    This poll is a bunch of bull for christ sake he caught the guy who killed our people what the heck more do these people want it had to be a bunch of reteatards that answer to this poll i am so sick and tired of of the right bringing back terrorist that lied about WMD's in Iraq, and caused 4000 of our troops to die to be experts on Iraq, and they were not brought to justice. there is only one conclusion this President, and his family is too black for this white house racist right wingers will not let up until he is out of office what a shame.

    June 18, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Vince

    37% is looking FANTASTIC compared to the favorability rating of the GOP controlled House.

    June 18, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    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.
    -------------------
    Screw ups, Yolanda? Let's hear you name some, then. The right wing has rewritten history when it comes to the conflict in Syria. The right's narrative says that Pres. Obama laid down a red line, Assad crossed it, and we did nothing.

    Here's what really happened. Pres. Obama laid down a red line. Congressional Republicans started yelling a screaming about the how the executive branch has no authority to initiate military action without the approval of the Congress. They started tossing the I-word around and demanded a vote in the Congress before Pres. Obama initiates any military action on his own. The Congress conducted their vote, and the Congress didn't pass a bill authorizing military action or aid in Syria, which is why the aid to Syria has thus far been strictly humanitarian. The Congress simply did not approve it.

    Am I blaming the Congress? Nope, the Congress just happens to be part of the story. I'm blaming the media for perpetuating the historical rewrite regarding the metaphorical red line that was drawn in Syria. Republican voted overwhelmingly against the bills to authorize action, and now they are criticizing the President for not taking action.

    June 18, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    He's dropping like a rock........because he is inept, and criminal.

    June 18, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. O'drama ya Mama

    I thought Americans were stupid when we decided to invade Iraq in 2003. This nation is beyond help if they are going to blame Obama for not going back into Iraq. Every single option in Iraq will cause us another 2 or 3 problems. If we help the Iraq government fight ISIS we will anger our ally and main oil supplier in Saudi Arabia. If we help the ISIS we would be repeating the same mistakes we made when we removed Saddam and increasing Irans influence in the region. We need to let them fight it out amongst themselves. We created this mess and its best if we dont mess it up anymore then we already have.

    June 18, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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