No polling fireworks for Obama or Congress this July 4th
July 3rd, 2014
01:40 PM ET
6 months ago

No polling fireworks for Obama or Congress this July 4th

Washington (CNN) - As President Barack Obama marks his sixth Independence Day in the White House, his approval ratings remain near the lowest of his presidency.

Just 41% of Americans approve of the job the President's doing in office, according to a new CNN Poll of Polls. But while Obama's numbers are anything but impressive, the approval rating for Congress is significantly lower.

The CNN Poll of Polls – compiled and released Thursday – also indicates that 54% of the public gives Obama a thumbs down on his job performance. The poll averages the seven non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of the president's approval rating conducted since the beginning of June.

Obama's approval rating – a key indicator of a president's standing with Americans and of his clout here in the nation's capital – is hovering slightly above where it stood in November and early December when it was at or near all time lows in many national surveys. And it's some 10 percentage points below where it stood at the beginning of 2013 - soon after his 2012 re-election victory.

The President's numbers tumbled after late spring and summer following controversies over the Edward Snowden intelligence leaks and congressional investigations into IRS targeting of conservative political groups. Then came October and the politically charged botched roll out of the website for Obamacare, his signature domestic policy achievement.

Coupled with legislative setbacks, many pundits labeled 2013 the worst year of Obama's presidency. And for the first time since taking over at the White House in 2009, a majority of the public surveyed disapproved of his job performance.

Obama's numbers slightly rebounded earlier this year before edging down to their current standing in the low 40's.

The release of the new CNN Poll of Poll comes as the scandal rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs has dominated recent headlines. And the President has also recently faced numerous international challenges, including the increased bloodshed in Iraq, the ongoing 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.

Independent voters may be fueling the deterioration of Obama's approval ratings.

"The President is still riding high with Democrats, and has never been very popular among Republicans. But it's the independents who are dragging down Obama's ratings. In some polls only about a third of independents approve of his job performance," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

How Obama compares to predecessors

So how does Obama stack up against his most immediate two-term predecessors as they marked their sixth Independence Day in the White House?

George W. Bush stood at 36% in 2006, Bill Clinton was at 60% in 1998. And Ronald Reagan was at a lofty 64% in 1986. Richard Nixon, just weeks before he resigned over the Watergate scandal, stood at 28%.

The CNN Poll of Polls release came one day after a Quinnipiac University survey indicated that Obama tops the list of the worst presidents since World War II. Thirty-three percent of people questioned in the poll said that Obama is the worst president since the Second World War, with 28% saying Bush was the worst. Thirteen percent picked Nixon, with 8% named Jimmy Carter.

It's important to note that Obama and Bush, his predecessor in the White House, are more in the public conscious than previous presidents, and that both have governed during a time of bitter partisanship that's made compromise between the two major political parties extremely difficult. When Quinnipiac last asked the question, in 2006, Bush topped the list, with 34% saying he was the nation's worst president.

Donna Brazile's take on CNN.COM Opinion: 'Lies, damned lies, statistics and polls'

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Congressional approval in gutter

The presidential approval rating – during a midterm election cycle – is considered a key indicator of how the president's political party may fare on Election Day.

The silver lining for the President: While his numbers are nothing to brag about, the approval rating for Congress is in the gutter. Only 14% of Americans approve of the job federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill are doing, according to the new CNN Poll of Polls, with nearly eight in 10 giving Congress a thumbs down.

The 14% approval rating is slightly better than November, when just 10% of the public gave Congress a thumbs up. But it's down from a year ago, when the congressional approval average stood at 17%.

"It's easy for Americans to dislike Congress because most of them are familiar, at most, with only three members - their two U.S. Senators and the U.S. Representative from their district. That leaves 532 strangers who are easy to despise," Holland added.

Control of Congress is at stake in November's midterm elections.

Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states. In the House, the Democrats need to pick up a challenging 17 Republican-held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the seven non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of the president's approval rating conducted since the beginning of June: Gallup daily tracking poll (June 30-July 2); Quinnipiac University (June 24-30); Fox News (June 21-23); CBS News/New York Times (June 20-22); American Research Group (June 17-20); NBC News/Wall Street Journal (June 11-15) and Bloomberg (June 6-9).

The CNN Poll of Polls on Congress is an average of three non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of congressional approval conducted since the start of June: CBS News/New York Times (June 20-22); Gallup (June 5-8); and Fox News (June 1-3).

Since it is an average of multiple surveys, the Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    these numbers are heavy skewed as most blacks still support him even though his policies are doing them tremendous damage to them with the highest unemployment numbers and now his great illegal immigration debacle. objective evalution on their part will never be possible. it is exactly how oj got acquitted, obama will always get a free pass too.

    Actually, blacks have always and probably always will make less than whites. It's been going on since our people were freed. Whites welcomed immigrants such as Italians and Irish because they refused to pay blacks but had no problem paying foreigners. Google peonism. A form of legal $lavery after $lavery itself was outlawed. So please don't start pretending you care how we are treated because you don't. Unless we are being treated well and then it's Affirmative Action, which whites have worked so hard to destroy. And what do you know poof it's gone.

    July 3, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. it must be said

    Rudy NYC
    Interesting that you would accuse the President of finger pointing and endless attacks. You're projecting again.
    -–

    I am only stating fact, not accusations. Six years of finger pointing, excuses, distraction and political chicanery. For you to deny this only shows how dishonest you are.

    July 3, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. deags15

    If you're gonna do a national poll on congress yes it will be low but the people in congress continue to win reelection because unlike President moron it's not a national opinion that effects their decision making it's a local one. And I'm sure if you focused on the local polling you would find that the opinion is significantly higher in favor of congress. The republicans are gonna win the Senate btw.

    July 3, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Tone

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    these numbers are heavy skewed as most blacks still support him even though his policies are doing them tremendous damage to them with the highest unemployment numbers and now his great illegal immigration debacle. objective evalution on their part will never be possible. it is exactly how oj got acquitted, obama will always get a free pass too.

    Actually, blacks have always and probably always will make less than whites. It's been going on since our people were freed. Whites welcomed immigrants such as Italians and Irish because they refused to pay blacks but had no problem paying foreigners. Google peonism. A form of legal $lavery after $lavery itself was outlawed. So please don't start pretending you care how we are treated because you don't. Unless we are being treated well and then it's Affirmative Action, which whites have worked so hard to destroy. And what do you know poof it's gone.

    Brilliant post Wake Up People enlighten these uninformed rwnj.

    July 3, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Fair is Fair – " For the life of me I'll never understand how 41% still think this chump is doing a good job. "

    Look beyond the right wing propaganda network, and you will see that the stock markets are at all time highs and the USA added 288 THOUSAND jobs last month. With no help from repubs.

    If the righties in government would support Obama's agenda, we would be in great shape.

    July 3, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. deags15

    If you're gonna do a national poll on congress yes it will be low but the people in congress continue to win reelection because unlike President moron it's not a national opinion that effects their decision making it's a local one. And I'm sure if you focused on the local polling you would find that the opinion is significantly higher in favor of congress. The Republicans are going to win the Senate btw..

    July 3, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Ta111
    Please tell what "progress" he has made, other than ruining the country.
    -------------
    He pulled us out of the The Great Recession, which saw the economy shedding 750,000 jobs per month.
    He inherited a $1.5 trillion annual budget deficit, which has been cut by more than half in a few years.
    --

    And now the truth... the recession officially ended 6 months after Obama was sworn into office and BEFORE anything he did or proposed had even taken affect. The only thing he and you pulled is a fast one. But even then, after borrowing and spending nearly a trillion dollars, we still had record unemployment even to this day, and worse the lowest labor participation rate since the other great Democrat Disaster Jimmy Carter.

    As for the deficit, Obama didn't inherit a $1.5 trillion deficit. He inherited around $700 BILLION, but HE and the DEMOCRATS kept the $800 BILLION "temporary emergency TARP" spending as part of the federal budget. And that deficit has been reduced thanks to massive new taxation, 21 new taxes in Obamacare alone. That is all money that is sucked out of the private sector and not available for people to spend on their daily family needs.

    July 3, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Absolutely nothing wrong with pres. Obama. Wrong lies with American conservative idiots and congress garbage. True.

    July 3, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    I think it's so funny to hear the liberals on here talk about the horrible congress numbers as if democrats don't run half of Congress. You guys do realize that Congress includes the senate which is run by the dems, right?
    ----------------------------------
    You do realize that Congress' numbers didn't tank like this until Tea Party showed up, right?

    July 3, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Ta111 – " Please tell what "progress" he has made ... "

    How about turning around jobs growth from LOOSING around 800 THOUSAND a month, doubling the stock markets, and pulling GDP from the negative numbers left from W-cheney days.

    The real question is: How can you righties be so ignorant? How long can you keep running from the facts?

    July 3, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Hairy reed

    Lolo

    Who cares about the polls? Only the racist care. They will never give President Obama credit for anything because of his skin color.
    -----------------------------
    Only a racist can accuse others of racism.

    July 3, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    @Tony – Bill Clinton was working with an entirely different breed of conservatives. Witness the fact that today's crop has gone to great lengths to run the old guard out of town, blaming them as being not conservative enough.

    ----------------------------
    "I am only stating fact, not accusations. Six years of finger pointing, excuses, distraction and political chicanery. For you to deny this only shows how dishonest you are."

    You're pretty lean on actual facts, not unless you count your opinions as facts, of course. Yes, I know that's how it works in the right wing, but in the real world opinions are not facts.

    July 3, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Reese

    Bush had plenty of failing but I never saw him be ugly on so many occasions as Obama. The article says, "bitter partisan" and that is the way most of us view Obama. He is not POTUS just Harry Reid in the White House lobbing verbal insults and accusations.

    July 3, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    tom l – " I think it's so funny to hear the liberals on here talk about the horrible congress numbers as if democrats don't run half of Congress "

    Having a majority in the Senate is not the same as running it. Dems don't 'run' the Senate as long as repubs can filibuster laws.

    It's like driving a car, with one person working the brakes and another the steering and gas; as long as one is holding down the brakes, you're going nowhere.

    And, BTW, when Dems DID have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and control of the House and the Presidency, during Obama's first 2 years,,we saw the fastest economic turnaround this country has ever experienced.

    July 3, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    He pulled us out of the The Great Recession, which saw the economy shedding 750,000 jobs per month.
    He inherited a $1.5 trillion annual budget deficit, which has been cut by more than half in a few years.
    -

    And now the truth... the recession officially ended 6 months after Obama was sworn into office and BEFORE anything he did or proposed had even taken affect. The only thing he and you pulled is a fast one. But even then, after borrowing and spending nearly a trillion dollars, we still had record unemployment even to this day, and worse the lowest labor participation rate since the other great Democrat Disaster Jimmy Carter.

    As for the deficit, Obama didn't inherit a $1.5 trillion deficit. He inherited around $700 BILLION, but HE and the DEMOCRATS kept the $800 BILLION "temporary emergency TARP" spending as part of the federal budget. And that deficit has been reduced thanks to massive new taxation, 21 new taxes in Obamacare alone. That is all money that is sucked out of the private sector and not available for people to spend on their daily family needs.
    =======================================================================
    It was wrong to include the cost of TARP as part of the federal budget? The deficit has been reduced mostly because we got rid of those expensive Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy, which cost us 5 trillion over a decade. If the Affordable Care Act reduces the amount of money that insurance companies can siphon out of the Medicare/Medicaid revenue stream, so much the better.

    July 3, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    People constantly compare Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. It's a very unfair comparison. While Bill may have had to deal with the GOP, that's where the similarities end.

    A. Bill is still " one of them"'.
    B. There was no statement about making him a one term POTUS. Thereby refusing to work with him, and refusing to be seen with him.
    C. There were no polls asking if you hoped Bill would fail.

    There is no comparison between the two. As much as I loved Bill Clinton, he was a lying cheat, but no one ever asked for his birth certificate and college transcripts....

    July 3, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    @tom l

    I think it's so funny to hear the liberals on here talk about the horrible congress numbers as if democrats don't run half of Congress. You guys do realize that Congress includes the senate which is run by the dems, right?
    ------------
    You do realize that Congress' numbers didn't tank like this until Tea Party showed up, right?
    -----------
    Then there is the treason club. From PBS.org "Among them were Senate power brokers Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl and Tom Coburn, and conservative congressmen Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan. After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything. The new president had no idea what the Republicans were planning.

    Fight everything, NOT represent the people, NOT act on a political philosophy, NOT advance a point of view, but fight everything. That is either anarchy or treason. They should be impeached.

    July 3, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. it must be said

    Rudy NYC
    You're pretty lean on actual facts, not unless you count your opinions as facts, of course. Yes, I know that's how it works in the right wing, but in the real world opinions are not facts.
    --

    On honestly Rudy, if I had a dollar for every Obama excuse, finger pointing, blaming others, lies, demonizing others, insulting others (including the USSC!), etc. my fortune would rival Warren Buffett. Looks at these poll number Rudy. Look at them long and hard. Those are facts. Please don't choke on them before this long holiday weekend.

    July 3, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Reese

    Rudy NYC

    @Tony – Bill Clinton was working with an entirely different breed of conservatives. Witness the fact that today's crop has gone to great lengths to run the old guard out of town, blaming them as being not conservative enough.

    ----------
    "I am only stating fact, not accusations. Six years of finger pointing, excuses, distraction and political chicanery. For you to deny this only shows how dishonest you are."

    You're pretty lean on actual facts, not unless you count your opinions as facts, of course. Yes, I know that's how it works in the right wing, but in the real world opinions are not facts.
    ____________

    Obama learned nothing from Clinton. He knew how to get things done and he learned from mistakes and improved every year he was in office. Clinton evolved as Obama just whines and complains. I thought at first he would change but now like most I am just waiting for his term to end.

    July 3, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. lexingtonbobby

    I'm stunned they the numbers are this high! If he doesn't seal the borders soon the numbers will probably increase for him with all the illegal voters pouring in down there.

    July 3, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Earle

    Funny how I see on here Dems say Repubs are to blame for Obama's failures, sorry it's his policies and lack of leading that got him here, so Obama did build this... Absolutely takes no responsibility unless it makes him look good, and dividing America is shameful as well as making his own laws and not enforcing the one's he doesn't like which is illegal..The Dems run 2/3rd's of the Govt. right now. They gloss over this fact, and the fact that there are only 34% Repubs. in America, so how does that add up to 51% dislike his policies? Easy it's NOT only Repubs. that dislike him now...

    July 3, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. betterdays

    From my perspective, one Harry Reid in the Senate is worth two dozen Tea Partiers in the House when it comes to creating gridlock.

    July 3, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Thanks Tone.

    July 3, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @Hairy reed
    Lolo

    Who cares about the polls? Only the racist care. They will never give President Obama credit for anything because of his skin color.
    ---------–
    Only a racist can accuse others of racism.
    ---------–
    What a sad example of the critical thinking coming out of the radical right wing.
    Not only is that completely lacking in logical, observation, and reason, but you yourself just called someone racist making you a racist by your own definition. Is it any wonder conservatives have no problem believing any crazy theory without basis?

    July 3, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Longtimer

    freedom

    This great nation deserves a president who doesn't threaten and divide its own people. The Congress poll numbers directly point to Reid. He won't even look at bills presented to the Senate by the House. He and Eric Holder are obstructing justice. So, the democrats and their failing policies are finally resonating with Americans. And the Supreme Court's decisions lately have validated this fact.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++
    You are conveniently forgetting Mr. McConnell's 542 filibusters against bills before the Senate or the lazy TEA Party members who will not vote- even as their drunken Speaker directs. N, sir- it is not Mr. Reid that is the problem, it is the do-nothing GOP. As far as division goes- the GOP swore to not work with Mr. Obama before he even took office. How's that for divisiveness?

    July 3, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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