September 1st, 2009
03:20 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Independents disapprove of Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="A majority of independent voters disapprove of how Barack Obama's handling his job as president, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A majority of independent voters disapprove of how Barack Obama's handling his job as president, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-three percent of independents questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties in the White House, with 43 percent in approval. That result marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of independents give the president's performance a thumbs-down.

Obama's overall approval rating of 53 percent is down 3 points from a month ago, and down 8 points from June. Forty-five percent of those questioned disapprove, up 5 points from a month ago and up 8 points from June.

According to the poll, nine in 10 Democrats approve of the job Obama's doing, up three points from a month ago, with 15 percent of Republicans approving, down 8 points.

"Obama won a majority of the vote among independents last year, and that helped put him in the White House," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Losing their support makes it more difficult for Obama to govern from the center."

Broken down by issues, the president still gets majority support on foreign affairs and terrorism, but a majority now disapprove of how he has handled health care, taxes, the economy and the budget deficit.

Is the fight over health care responsible for the downturn in Obama's numbers?

"Yes, in part, but his standing on some other issues has taken an even bigger tumble," adds Holland. "Among all Americans, his rating on health care has dropped 13 points since March. Compare that to his 16 point drop on the deficit and 17 point dip on taxes and it looks like there is growing discontent with Obama's overall domestic agenda - not just his health care policy."

According to the poll, Obama's approval rating on how he is handling the war in Afghanistan also fell 18 points since March.

The survey also indicates that 37 percent of Americans think the media has treated Obama fairly, down 18 points from February. One in four say the media has been too critical of the president, up seven points from February and 36 percent say the media has not been critical enough, up 10 points.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Monday, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Read: The full poll results

Filed under: CNN Polls • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. Mike in MN

    The independents are turning from Obama because during the campaign he convinced them he was a fisicaly responsible centerist.
    But Obama has always been a far left liberal and is governing as such. Independents feel they were fooled.
    Now that they believe Obama has decieved them, it will be 10 times as hard for him to win them back. Words won't due it. If Obama wants to convince them again he is a centerist, he will have to prove it by pushing policy that is centerist not liberal.
    But I don't believe he will. He is a hard core liberal who tried to hide behind his gift of speech to take control and reshape America into his own far left liberal image. He needed to do this before voters could catch on, hence his push of legislation, including health care reform, so fast it made voters heads spin. I did not work. His real idea of hope and change was "I hope I can push through all this change before voters know what I am doing". Now he is exposed, there will be no comming back.

    September 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. ttbala


    I swear I do not know where do you come up with these numbers, hey the man inherited a gigantic mess what do you want do you think he has a Migic wand and will raise it and everything will be rosey again, CNN you should know this therefore you should not report this stupid polls, it has been only eight months, it took Buch and Company EIGHT YEARS to ruin this country, you expect Obama to fix it in 8 months, please have some common sense give the guy a break, you know he will fix this he will pass health care and when 2012 comes aroung he will win again with hands down, CNN this is something for you to chew on.

    September 1, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Barry NiFong, Hawaii

    WE disapprove because O is a liar, corrupt, socialist, who will do anything to promote the far left.

    September 1, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Angie in Pa

    Can we see a poll on how Independents view the Republican party cnn?

    September 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Jimmy the Greek

    Independents don't want higher deficits and Government-Controlled car companies, banks, etc.

    Independents don't want amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Independents don't approve of pork.

    FACT IS – Obama had no chance of keeping the independent votes hence his RAMMING through a liberal agenda before Dems lose Congress.

    September 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |

    Barrak Obama has two changes to win in 2012 Slim and None and slim is voting Republican.

    September 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Alfy New Guy

    I'm a Conservative Republican.

    I think Obama is doing a GREAT job. I give him an A+ on everything.

    ps: I know I am always on here pushing my opposite to my party liberal views, and bashing my fellow republicans. But I really am a republican. I would be retarded to fake that I'm a democrat bu actually be a republican. I mean Look at that Alf guy down there who is pretending to be a democrat, but all the moron ever posts is bashes on every democrat there is. He's not retarded, he is just REALLY confused and doesn't realize he's a republican.

    September 1, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. normajean

    Seriously, what is an independent. Is it someone who cannot make up their mind? Or is it someone who isn't sure what they believe in? Maybe, it's someone who is going in all directions at the same time. I honestly don't know. If you aren't for whatever choices are in front of you, are you not just out of luck?Have you tried to come up with something you would like?I guess this just one of lifes imponderables.

    September 1, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Steve (the real one)

    Current liberal trend:
    1. Be patience, it's only been 1 month
    2. Be patience, it's only been 3months
    3. Be patience, it's only been 6 months
    4. Be patience, it's only been 9 months

    What are we going to hear next year? In his 3rd year? In his 4th and final year? I imagine you all will STILL be begging for patience and STILL blaming Bush!

    September 1, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. jayson1969

    Polls this early in a presidency really mean nothing. Reagan struggled early and so did Clinton. The only times polls spike early on in presidencies is when there is a war (both Bush's saw spikes).

    I'm an independent, and I can't believe how many fellow independents are buying the garbage about the conservative concerns over the deficit. When the conservatives took power in 2000 with Bush, they basically said the deficit doesn't matter and cut taxes while funding war. Just read writings from The Heritage Foundation from 2000-2002 if you don't believe me.

    Now that they're out of power, they need something to cling to. I don't buy it. The party that is responsible for over 90% of our current deficit has no room to talk (Reagan took it from $1 trillion to $4 trillion; Bush Sr to $5 million; it was FLAT under Clinton; and Bush Jr added another $6 trillion).

    September 1, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Tom L

    It's always funny to see how Democrats react to a poll like this when they don't agree with it. The fact is, that many people find Obama to be doing a poor job. For example, he pushed through the stimulus bill and said it would keep unemployment below 8%. He was wrong. No matter how much you want to twist that, it's true and anyone who defends that is not being honest.

    I will agree that part of this article makes no sense. With him having trouble with Independents, he HAS to move more to the middle. His sharp left politics are not helping him at all.

    September 1, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. ton

    What was Bush's polls, eight months into his legacy LOL

    September 1, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. freddy

    I am not an independent, I am a democrat who voted for Obama and I must say I am terribly upset with his performance. He has a lot of actioin with little to no results. Also I am very worried about our national debt. We can not continue to spend, spend,spend!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 1, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Kim in Mpls

    Well i do remember the last guys numbers... you can't please them all.
    I would be happier though if Obama got off this "letting congress figure out healthcare" No we need to get this done NOW! Grab the phone tell the blue dogs there gonna be blue allright.

    Then tell the republicans the numbers are still against them and it may get worse if they're not going to help out. (M Bachmann I'm talkin to you) We have a country in distress and it might not turn around.

    Ten years years from now we will endure 1 trillion annually from retirees alone (80 million times how much will each get plus mdicare?) We need to reign in any cost cutting we can and nipping healthcare in the butt will help. I am not talk about less care but less profit, ya want profit invest elsewhere. Now let's not worry about the numbers and get this done NOW.

    September 1, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Independent For Obama

    Good Grief, be patient with our President. It was impatience and instant gratification that got us in this mess. I am 60 years old and have never been polled. Who are these people that are polled?

    September 1, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. luis

    If the election is over and they should stop the polls, then maybe Obama should stop campaigning so much. The guy has spent more time out rallying support for his Socialist agenda than he has working at the White House.

    September 1, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Dan

    Interesting quote at the end: losing independents makes it harder for Obama to govern from the center.

    Maybe it's BECAUSE he's governing so far left of center, that he is losing the independents in the first place.

    September 1, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. S M R

    The Independents are obviously in bed with the Rich.

    September 1, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. howie

    David Axelrod appears to be another Carl Rove, sad to say.

    September 1, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Jolene Hansen

    I'd like to know how the question was asked. Bet it was framed to get that response . . .

    September 1, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. jayson1969

    Many of you conservatives here have no clue. For one, Republican presidents are responsible for most of our current debt ($3T from Reagan, $1T from Bush Sr, and $6T from Bush Jr - Clinton ran small surpluses). Also, Obama has more Republicans in his administration than any other President has had from the opposing party in recent history (Bernake, Gates, LaHood) and he just named the former Utah Governor Ambassador to China. This is clearly a centrist presidency. Even the Health Care proposals don't go NEARLY as far as Clinton tried.

    Why the backlash? Ignorance to the facts. Period. This is a firmly centrist presidency, and republicans complaining about the debt is like the pot calling the kettle black. Don't fall for it fellow independents.

    September 1, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Right Leaning Independent

    Well, I must agree with this poll 100%. The poll represents this Independents feeling toward Obama. The truth is killing the die hard Dems that worship this man and can not see what he has and is doing to our country. He will not be the end of the country but he is certainly putting in a difficult position that will take time to correct when a true leader is elected! Keep your heads in the sand Dems and the Repubs are going to take back all your gains....

    September 1, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. VS, Florida

    Most right wingers are now brainwashed into representing themselves as "independents.or conservatives". Most have never had an independent thought in their lives, and are primarily motivated by bigotry compounded by ignorance and stupidity, "virtues" that are essential for the perfect Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity pawn. The CNN polsters know this, which makes them even more despicable. The vast majority of Americans that do have functioning brain cells need to remind themselves that they are the majority and need to continue to speak out, and show up at the polls. Only when the pandering rightwing politicinas are voted out will these morons crawl back into the holes they emerged from.

    September 1, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. ED

    The country is slowly waking up from a miserable nightmare called Obama.

    September 1, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Matt

    I love how people are already blaming the Big O for everything. Please remember or look back at your history books that 1. The real power lies within Congress. 2. He's been on the job for less then a year. 3. He inherited one of the worst financial declines in our history outside of the Great Depression. 4. It was a Republican idea for the Stimulus package whose biggest supporter was G.W. Bush.

    Anyone who is Independent understands you have to walk a fine line between socially progressive and fiscally conservative. How many conservatives have actually lived up to the fiscal conservative mentality? Repubs are just as much to blame for Pork as Dems.

    September 1, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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