No polling fireworks for Obama or Congress this July 4th
July 3rd, 2014
01:40 PM ET
2 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. Gurgyl

    -I do not give darn hoot at this biased poll. I give the best for Obama. The worst for Congress idiots. If I have power, I will fire all congress idiots forthwith. Period.

    July 3, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Only lunatics would possibly approve of Obama.

    His actions are criminal, dictatorial, and subversive to this country. He has zero redeeming qualities. He is a total liar, an arrogant, insufferable person, and his covert and clandestine activities, are doing untold damage to this country.

    July 3, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, it could be worse: Obama could have the 17% (too high by far) approval and Congress the 41% approval.

    July 3, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. anotherGDlefty

    One poll matters and we had that poll in November 2012.

    July 3, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. 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.

    July 3, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

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

    July 3, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ---------------------------------–
    "You cannot soar like an eagle when you fly with turkeys."

    July 3, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Lolo

    Who cares about the polls? Only the racist care. They will never give President Obama credit for anything because of his skin color. I know it is some democrats included too, but they have racist people in their party too. Like I said before He is the first black president, not the only president. We are in this mess due to the good old boy network. Now they think they can steam roll the black president and make it all his fault. Nothing but liars and whiners. Just like they stole the country from the native americans they are trying to blame the mess they created on the black man. Why do they think they are always chanting take our country back? Heck it wasn't their country from the beginning. If they loved their country so much why did they not try to cultivate it? Because they are lazy as usual. All this crap about blacks and minorities is nothing but media hype from the good old boy network.

    July 3, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Oh my goodness.... How will he ever win his coveted 3rd term? Many people still support this President, just like many people hate him, thing is those are the people that hated him since he beat Hillary in the primary. Hell I know Hillary democrats that refused to support this POTUS. You can poll everyday, but many people support him and are very happy with the progress he has made.

    So Fox-lite FIFY!

    July 3, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. nonyabizz

    That was his poll numbers 2 weeks into his presidency. These same people also probably think that he STARTED WWII.

    July 3, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Consuela

    Wow, really the worst president. No I don't think so because he is not sitting around kissing major butt to appease the republicans and the house speaker. If anything the republicans and house speaker suck. They have showed lower class and middle class Americans that that have no confidence in them by not helping there fellow Americans. They sit on there high horses and do not know anything about the real world. Come sit in my shoes and figure out what is more important paying my rent or to put food in the house or even to keep your lights on with the increase in ulitilites. This is good people can get insurance to help them in there daily lives. What have they done or you to make a change or differences in the world?

    July 3, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. just asking

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

    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.

    July 3, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. ja

    Who did they poll? Justice Thomas or Herman Cain, or just all Tea Party members,

    July 3, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Tony D

    41% support Obama:

    25% people who hate the USA and think we are the root of all evil in the world and like the USA decline Obama has brought about.

    16% black and minority support that will always think the USA is racist but support him no matter what because of the color of his skin. (as if that is not a form of racism)

    Sorry, just telling it like it is. Now let the accusations of racist fly.

    July 3, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Ta111

    Please tell what "progress" he has made, other than ruining the country.

    July 3, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. smith

    Obama did this to himself. When you preach and run on hope and change and you don`t deliver on hope and change this where you find yourself. People forgot that Obama is a politician not a messiah sent to solve all of your problems(Dumb, Dumb, Dumb).

    July 3, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    For the life of me I'll never understand how 41% still think this chump is doing a good job.
    ----------------------------------------------
    Those would be the folks that know giving big tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires doesn't create jobs.

    July 3, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. SniffTHIS

    Obama-Cult members will NEVER allow Obama to fail. Even in the face of overwhelming facts and hard evidence, they will:
    – deny the fact staring them in the face
    – blame someone else
    – make up excuses
    – blame someone else
    – distract with another debacle
    – blame someone else
    – state that so-and-so did it and it was WRONG! Then totally accept that it is okay as long as Obama did it

    By consistently giving Obama unjust Free Passes and not keep him accountable, Barrack will continue to fail the country at his leasure.

    BTW: if they polled all the ILLEGAL Immigrants that Obama is allowing to flood the country, they could boost his Approval rating.

    July 3, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Lily

    The media is failing people. I do not understand why they are satisfied with the Approval Rating of Congress (13%) and you never hear them talk about it. If Congress were at 41%, President could be at 67%. Do your work media. Stop sleeping and hold Congress accountable.

    July 3, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. it must be said

    Nearly 6 years of failure after failure, debacle after debacle, scandal after scandal, and then being lied to about keeping your healthcare plan,doctor and hospital. Incompetence. lies and deceit with endless potions of blaming others, finger pointing and endless atacks and campaign speeches that accomplish NOTHING.

    And yet 41% still approve. The country is getting very very close to the tipping point where a total disaster as a President is seen as a good job. This once again proves, we have a massive mental
    health problem in this country.

    July 3, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. kurt

    I wish approval polls did the following.

    1. Do you approve of the president?
    2. Would you approve of a "generic" politician from the other party more then the current president?

    I think you'd find the numbers different if you did that. There are a LOT of liberals who disapprove of the president on issues... NSA stuff in particular. But they would still take the current president over say... Mitt Romney. Not because they support Obama but because they view him as a lesser evil then a GOP person sitting in that seat.

    Same goes for Obamacare polling. Many polls ask "Do you like Obamacare"... but don't follow it up with... "If your options were Obamacare or going back to the system before Obamacare, which would you choose." There are many liberals who don't think Obamacare went nearly far enough and disapprove of it... while still preferring it to what we had before it passed.

    July 3, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. 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.

    July 3, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. 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?

    July 3, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    it must be said posted:

    Nearly 6 years of failure after failure, debacle after debacle, scandal after scandal, and then being lied to about keeping your healthcare plan,doctor and hospital. Incompetence. lies and deceit with endless potions of blaming others, finger pointing and endless atacks and campaign speeches that accomplish NOTHING.

    And yet 41% still approve. The country is getting very very close to the tipping point where a total disaster as a President is seen as a good job. This once again proves, we have a massive mental health problem in this country.
    -----------------------------------
    Interesting that you would accuse the President of finger pointing and endless attacks. You're projecting again.

    July 3, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Tommy G

    Rudy NYC
    "You cannot soar like an eagle when you fly with turkeys."
    --

    Well, Obama flew with a Democrat House and Senate for two years and with a Democrat Senate for almost 6 years. So yes, he has been flying with turkeys, so thanks for pointing that out.

    Funny, Bill Clinton had no problem working with Republicans to get things done. Why can't Obama manage to do it? Heck there are even complaints from Democrats he doesn't call them or work with them. He just simply doesn't know how to work with people. His confrontational leftist union tactics are not appropriate when dealing with other duly elected representatives of the American people. And neither does channeling Hugo Chavez!

    July 3, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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