October 20th, 2009
12:40 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: Half the country disagrees with Obama on issues

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/20/art.obama.1020.2.jpg caption="CNN Poll: Half the country disagrees with Obama on issues."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - For the first time since he took over in the White House, Americans don't see eye to eye with President Barack Obama on the important issues, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey does indicate that a majority approve of how Obama's handling his duties as president.

According to the poll, which was released Tuesday, 48 percent of people questioned say that they agree with Obama on the issues that matter most to them, with 51 percent saying no. That's a switch from April, when 57 percent said they agreed with the president on important issues, with 41 percent disagreeing.

"Obama is facing crunch time on a number of controversial issues, from health care to financial regulation to cap and trade to Afghanistan," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The fact that most Americans no longer agree with him on important issues makes his task harder."

Fifty-five percent of those questioned say they approve of how Obama's handling his duties, with 43 percent disapproving. The 55 percent approval rating is down 3 points from September. Most recent national polls place the president's approval rating in the low to mid 50's.

"Obama continues to do poorly among senior citizens," says Holland. "Most Americans over the age of 65 disapprove of how he is handling his job as president."

The poll also suggests that two out of three Americans say Obama has the qualities a president should have, down 12 points from April - one indication the Nobel Peace Prize may not have helped him much in that regard.

Most Americans, 56 percent, don't approve of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, and only a third believe that Obama has done enough to deserve the prize. But seven in 10 are proud that a U.S. president won the prestigious award.

Sixty-five percent say they have a favorable opinion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and 64 percent say they view first lady Michelle Obama favorably. Both women rate higher than the six in 10 questioned who view Obama in a favorable light. Forty-five percent say they have a favorable opinion of Vice President Joe Biden, 5 points higher than the four in 10 who view Biden unfavorably.

"It's not surprising that Clinton tops Barack Obama on the favorable ratings," says Holland. "Secretaries of State don't get blamed for economic problems or unpopular domestic policies, and they often don't get the same share of the blame as the commander-in-Chief for international slip-ups either. But typically, the first lady gets even better favorable ratings than the Secretary of State, so the fact that Clinton's numbers are slightly better than Michelle Obama's is a bit surprising."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Sunday through Thursday, with 1,038 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: CNN poll • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, I'm no pollster but...

    And yet 57% of Americans want a public option according to a Washington Times/ABC news poll released yesterday. Have a nice day!

    October 20, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And the other 50% agree with him. ?!? What ???

    October 20, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Jim Martin

    For the first time? The media has its head in the sand. 80% of Americans disagree with the Obama administartions policies and performance. Are you trying to ease back into telling the truth?

    October 20, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Mike Syracuse, NY

    And so the long slide into a single term Presidency continues. Hillary is more popular because the public realizes she's at least competent, unlike our Rock Star-in-Chief.

    October 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. nick

    "we want our social security and we dont care if boys are dying in iraq and we dont care how you have to pay for it all!

    October 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Pam

    I dont know who you guys poll, but those numbers are not reflective of the true sentiment.
    I think he is doing a great job when you consider what he walked into.
    Our prior president was driving this country into the ground!
    The only thing I have issue with is the fact that he has not pulled all of our troops out of Iraq yet.

    October 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. We Won Get Over It

    How did you get the republican members of congress to answer this poll. Seems to me it is the republican view....bet if you documentated they party affliation you would find MOST OF AMERICA AGREE ON HEALTH CARE AND THE REST.... There again..CNN is trying to be Fox News..and they dont' post messages that disagree with them.

    October 20, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Steven

    Are these polls really necessary. How can you real conduct a poll, say that half American don't agree with Obama but only interview 1,038 people by telephone.. Is this serious. How many people voted last year? Millions! not hundred, not thousands, not tens of thousands, not even hundred of thousands. I just don't get it

    October 20, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. Dale

    But who disagrees with him, the silent majority or the extremists? This makes a huge difference, especially for getting re-elected. If the middle 50% agrees with him and extremists at both ends disagree, then he is doing great. If all the righties hate him and all the lefties love him... 50% is not so good.

    As far as the health care bill goes, the latest version is hated by extremists on both ends... so it must be a good compromise and I fully support it. 🙂

    October 20, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. john

    There's a surprise!!!!!

    October 20, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. diridi

    But 98 percent of the nation is so hateful of REPUBLICANS....did you know this?????they messed the nation in its entirity....ok, just know it...pres. obama is doing simply excellent...pass heatlh care with public option...his ratings go up unprecedented....like mahatma Gandhi....

    October 20, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. mike

    How can you approve of how he is handling business in the office he hasn't handled anything but getting a cop and a professor together for a beer?

    October 20, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. T Mckinley

    In 2012, the prevailing question is going to be the same one that Ronald Reagan asked in 1980:

    "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

    No one, I repeat, NO ONE knows what the answer to this question is going to be. Only time will tell whether or not our President's policies are going to work.

    Just remember THIS, unemployment is the worst it's been since 1983.

    1983, my Republican friends, was the 3rd year of Ronald Reagan's 1st term as President, and unemployment was as bad THEN as it is now.

    Let's see how things are in 2012.

    October 20, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What? Who was polled? The deep south and the far right clergy? Give me a break!

    October 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    I have never beleived POLLS I rely on facts . and this president has quitely done more possative and productive things in the first 10 months than cheney bush did in 8 years...
    so remember FIRE IT UP READY TO GO , and if he can pass any kind of health care plan . it will be a first ever and it opens pandoras box of getting back at the insurance industry greed , of using americans health issues as a profit maker ,rather than using profit for research and investing in pro health wellness awareness programs . the insurance companies would rather pick at americans to make a profit. If you look at the bottom line of this ,and really think about it .. these companies are banking on the government ( not controlling over charges and greed. and to me its a sick country to allow anyone to make such an out radgious profit on suffering and pain of illness and injuries ... and terminal patients denials of health clams ..

    pretty sick don't you think? 🙁

    October 20, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Travis In Colorado

    I think it's more than half that disagree with Obumbles. Cause my family and I have never been polled, and we don't care for him or his administration at all. In fact 90 percent of the county that we live in don't like him. We can't wait for 2012 baby! Whoooo!

    October 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Melissa

    Thats because the news programs are more concerned with ratings than they are with providing proper accurate information LIKE THERE JOBS SAY THEY SHOULD BE DOING, and the Republican fear mongers are working over time to scare everyone.

    October 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. It is any Wonder?

    Why don't you stop polling the President everyday, hoping to get a news story.
    He hasn't even been in offie a year and he walked into a sinking ship – give him a break.

    October 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. turdburglar

    so 48% of people still agree with bankrupting the country?

    October 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Maybe those senior citizens, who survived a depression before know a little about what the correct path to recovery is? They have been repeating over and over you can not spend your way out of debt. But no one in Washington is listening to the voices of experance.

    October 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. kuriya

    no one poll me or my family. Im older.

    October 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Duck Fallas

    Old people are selfish and gullible.

    And, 80% of Americans disapprove of the President, because some guy says so.

    October 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Expat American

    If you polled 1,038 people attending a Palin Country First Slack Jaw Klan Rally and book signing that number would be much lower and would have just as much significance.

    October 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. kyle from ohio

    So what is the problem. If you can get half a room of people to agree with you. by all accounts in life you are doing good. what is there some expection of total agreement from everyone? Once again CNN just like all the rest of the NEWS companies these days being the Tabloid again. Ballon Boy's. please do some homework.

    October 20, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Enough

    MORE than half, 51% DISAGREE on what he is doing. Support for the public option under 50% as well. That means the MAJORITY do NOT support his policies or his public option. The trend will continue as this man continues to show his true Left wing agenda. He ran in the center and is governing far left. We are a center right country and that's what we want our commander in chief to be. Obama is wolf in sheeps clothing.

    October 20, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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