February 20th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama approval rating drops, but still high

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/20/art.getty.obama.laughing.jpg caption="A new national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that six in 10 support the economic stimulus package that Obama signed into law Tuesday.

Obama's approval rating stands at 67 percent in the new poll. That's down 9 points from the most recent previous CNN poll, which was conducted in early February. But a breakdown by party suggests that the drop doesn't mean that the new president is in serious trouble.

"Since nearly all of the decline came among Republicans, this doesn't indicate that the honeymoon is already over," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Democrats, Obama's approval went from 96 percent to 92 percent; among Republicans, it dropped from 50 percent in early February to 31 percent now."

Among Independents, the president's approval rating now stands at 61 percent, down 6 points from earlier in the month.

Sixty percent of those questioned in the poll favored the economic stimulus plan, with 39 percent opposing the package. The $787 billion law is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble, and by cutting taxes.

Do Americans think the stimulus will work?

A slight majority, 53 percent, said the plan will improve economic conditions, while 44 percent said it won't help stimulate the economy. And only 31 percent of those questioned indicated the package will improve their own financial situation, with two out of three saying the stimulus won't help them personally.

"Americans often don't see a connection between big government programs and their own wallets," Holland said. "That's what makes the various bailout packages such a hard sell with the public, and why the White House might have felt that they needed to include tax cuts in the stimulus package."

Of those 53 percent who said the plan will work, 19 percent felt it will start improving the economy by the end of the year, with 16 percent saying it will make a difference by next year and another 18 percent feeling it will take longer than two years.

"It goes without saying that Democrats support the stimulus bill and Republicans oppose it," Holland added. "Nearly nine in 10 Democrats favored the plan while three-quarters of Republicans thought it was a bad idea."

Forty-nine percent said they think the passage of the economic stimulus plan was a major victory for President Obama, with 28 percent calling it a minor accomplishment and 22 percent indicating it was not a positive achievement.

The bill passed Congress less than four weeks after Obama took office. It passed the House of Representatives with no Republican support. In the Senate, three of the chamber's 41 Republicans backed the bill.

The survey's release comes one month after Obama's inauguration as president. Fifty-eight percent of those polled said Obama has so far met their expectations and another 16 percent suggested that he's exceeded their expectations. Nearly one in four said that the president has fallen short of what they expected.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, with 1,046 people questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Polls • President Obama
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Nadine

    He's only been in office for 4 weeks. He's done more positive things in that 4 weeks than negative depending on your politicial views. These polls mean nothing to me since i'm a fan of President Obama. If I were a Republican or in the GOP I would try to spin this as a bad sign and call his first month disappointing but i'm a Liberal Democrat and I think he's doing just fine. If they polled me or my neighbors, we would give him a thumbs up but i've never been polled.

    February 20, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Virginia

    Works for me-I was waiting for this to happen, and it will continue to go down when everyone realizes that the spending bill and bailouts are not going to do anyone any good. Throwing good money after bad has never helped, and this poll proves his incompetence in handling the situation.

    February 20, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. groidslayer

    BO is ruining the country, retirement accounts and the American way of life.

    This time next year, all you lemmings that voted for this empty suit will be sorry you did....he's a disgrace.

    February 20, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. demwit

    DOW -167.98 -2.25%

    Change you can believe in!!

    February 20, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Mark Vondrasek

    I think there is going to be a different story come November. Republicans or 'Repubs' as people like to call them, will retake the lead in congress and the balance of power will once more be complete. I can't wait.

    February 20, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Once you vote Black

    If you know nothing about Big Daddy O you should know that he is damping down expectations so when things come back there will be no question as to what the cause is. So nobody can say oh it was on the way back. When it hits the roof all will say wow he did it.

    February 20, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12