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. Barry In Las Vegas

    CNN continues to try and make lemonade out of lemons. The guy is dropping in the polls big time. He has lost the independant voter and even his Democrats, except for the African Americans, are turning on his policies.

    I know CNN had to hate posting this recent pole, but get use to it – Obama is going to continue to drop in the numbers as he heads for the second one term president in recent history.

    October 20, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Kimberly from Hawaii

    I am one of the 55 percent that generally approves of the president and how he is handling his job. Considering the mess he was handed in Jan. 2009 from the disaster known as "W", I believe he is doing all that can be done. The only area in which I disagree at the moment, is his policy of Afgahanistan. I think we need to pull out, and spend the money we would have spent fighting a no win situation on securing our borders. We need to save American lives, and spend the money here at home, not overseas.

    I also will be disappointed with we do not get a Public Option in the health care bill. But it is really up to congress to do that for the American people. My approval rating of the majority of congress is MUCH lower than it is for Pres. Obama. We could "clean house" and probably get better results.

    October 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    The most important polls will take place next year and in 2012.

    In the mean time, how much did polls sway President Bush to do contrary to what he ultimately decided to do? President Bush and Republicans were ABOVE polls, and that was when President Bush's approval rating was around 20-35%.

    Opinion polls are like sampling a larger pot soup. You can try a spoon full to get an idea of the flavor and saltiness, and may give you a good idea of how the rest of the soup tastes. It gives the chef the chance to change things up, and improve the soup.

    October 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. IndyVoter

    DUH! Of course 50% disagree, disapprove, disrespect, and every other "dis" you can think of as it pertains to the President. They're called Republicans! (Plus a few PUMAs to boot)....But make no mistake, Pres. Obama has plenty of supporters and we are ready and willing to support him and his agenda! Go OBAMA!

    October 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. D.

    51 against and 48 with the president, CNN's calls it "half"????

    October 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. KMAN

    Unfortunately, polls only indicate the views of those willing to be polled and do not necessarily reflect the views of those individuals who realize that polls are basically worthless from moment to moment and simply don't give any answer. I am one of them.

    October 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Jake

    well welcome to that other half of how the rest of us felt for the past 8 years!

    October 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Seriously, Left

    In due time, these numbers will make sense. A whole lot of elections are coming up which will be a referendum on the president's policies and I predict losses for the party in power. This administration and the hard left democrats have overreached with their supposed election mandate. Enjoy your "we won get over it" phase because it will not last long.

    October 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. IndyVoter

    This number also includes Liberals who do not think he is being Liberal enough on health care and gays in the military etc....Its not all Republicans and Independents.

    October 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Obama Victim

    see ya Obozo

    October 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Matt

    Why do people keep saying the GOP hasnt offered any health-care ideas?

    1. open up state borders to all insurance companies
    2. tort reform

    ....hello?

    October 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Jeff

    How many people actually know what the issues are? What a loaded question...

    October 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Tom from Canonsburg

    Studying Statistics on occasion leads me to believe that this is manipulated data. There are areas around me that I could do my own research poll & find exactly the opposite data. I could do this in some other areas nearby & find worse or much better. Pollsters know this better than me for sure. The wording of the questions also determine the outcome of the data. One thing for sure, there's more truth coming out of those offices at the White House then any other time in the last 8 years. It may not be perfect yet, but it's much better than it was. You have people openly saying they are gatheriing information and then making a decision. It's easy to criticize peple at least attempting to be open. You haven't had that opportunity in a while, it was always hindsight complaining.

    October 20, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. revolution

    Can we talk about the NEWS please.

    'They Tried to Steal an Election,' N.Y. Voter Fraud Case Heats Up
    Thirty-eight forged or fraudulent ballots have been thrown out, according to records at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections in Troy, N.Y. Enough votes, an election official admits, to likely have tipped the November election to the Democrats.

    October 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. ICARE

    I voted for change and want CHANGE. I dont WANT TO STAY THE COURSE, otherwise, I would have voted for McCain.

    First, the only people that are resisting changes are the upper scrooges that trash the economy.

    We need better healthcare. It's amazing how dense people are about the issue.

    If we stay the course, we will ROT in our CORRUPTED state of capitalism.

    Change is not socialism. It is doing the right thing to ensure the car has GAS to go on the next decade.

    October 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Carlos

    Quick Rahm mix up another batch of Kool Aid it's beginning to wear off of the lemmings.

    October 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Lynda

    Sorry but I wasn't asked me for a vote in the polls, I am over 65 and I think this President is doing every just fine........if he didn't have the Party of NO that is always throwing up road blocks he would be showing better results........This president has tackled more in his 10 months of office than Bush/Chaney did in 8 years........

    October 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Real American

    I'm not at all surprised by this...when you consider the number of people who tune into Rush every day, the fact that NASCAR is the fastest grow spectator sport in America, and that some people still wish Sarah Palin was our vice-president.

    We are becoming a nation of idiots, without teeth!

    October 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Mississippi Miss

    You would have to live in the South, to fully understand the effects of socialistic ideas and the impact they have when implemented.

    They encourage fraud, demote family values (benefits to unwed mothers is a cottage industry), if people are married their benefits are
    significantly reduced. The ideas are great and fair, and we are all our brothers' keeper, but the poor are not empowered by the policies of this administration. They do not attain the American dream, but a lifetime membership in a group of citizens beholden to the government for their very existence.

    October 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Forget the polls, just tell it like it is, half agree with the white side of Obama and half agree with the black side of Obama and that way everyone is included.

    October 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. J

    Do they? Or are the just full of misinformation.

    October 20, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Fred1369

    If 1/2 the people disagree with Obama CNN could have titled this article "Half the People Agree with Obama".

    October 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Dewey

    Once the Seniors get their "Cash for Codgers" check in the mail, maybe the poll numbers will shift.

    October 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. OldUncleTom

    In a nation of 316 million +, a sample of 1038 is pretty trivial, no matter how much voodoo analysis you apply to it.

    How many calls did the pollsters have to make to get 1038 poor souls interested in answering questions? Many of us have lives and jobs.

    For the record, I took a class in statistical analysis, and aced it. Pretty simple stuff, actually, and remarkably easy to extrapolate just about any conclusion you desire.

    Ask JD Power.

    October 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Susan

    The Obama Administration is not doing ANYTHING to create jobs. They like to talk a lot, but political payback was the main function of the first stimulus. We cannot afford to keep spending like this. Obamacare will destroy healthcare as we know it. We need healthcare reform, but not like this, the government is incompetent!

    October 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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