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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I stand with my President. I stood with the idiot that we had for eight years and he(Cheney) was beyond anyone's comprehension. I PROUDLY stand with the intelligent one that we have now. This man is getting the job done, say what you will. It may not be at the warp speed that some of us would want unrealistically, but it is happenning. Mistakes will be made, but none so far that we can't recover from. I take his turtle and analytical approach to the crack-like impetousness of the previous tenant of the WH.

    October 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. David in Houston

    I'd be interested in taking a look at the actuall poll sample data. This is not reflective of any of the folks I have spoken with.

    October 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Reagan was wrong

    What I don't like about the way CNN reports these kinds of stories is that they just lump in everyone who disapproves of Obama's performance into one big monolithic group.

    In reality, it consists of the GOP base, which will voraciously disapprove of anything Obama does; the rest of the GOP, which (obviously) is ideologically opposed to the vast majority of Obama's actions; and the far left, who see Obama as not advancing liberal causes strongly enough or rapidly enough.

    While the latter of the two groups are aware of this, the GOP base will interpret it as validation of their far right views, which will only embolden them further.

    October 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. tstar3

    So let me get this straight..half of the people said they disagree with Obama on issues that CONCERN the most...but a sizable percentage still a -like him 60% and approve of his duties as president 55%- way to get a TMZ-like headline

    October 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Common Sense

    This president is an out-and-out disaster. We will be lucky if he only turns out to be another Jimmy Carter.

    October 20, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Largo, MD

    Well, I'm part of the half that does agree with him.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Steve in Kentucky

    Thanks for all you do, Faux News.

    I wonder what percentage of the 51 percent believe things such as: death panels, that Obama was foreign born, that we're becoming a socialist nation, etc., etc.

    October 20, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Barb

    Why the big difference between this and the ABC poll of yesterday showing a 57% favorable rate for the President... and 57% approval for health care reform WITH a public option, and 70% approval for the public option for those who have no health care or cannot afford it?.....Hmmmmm

    October 20, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Navy Vet

    Seniors distrusting him, of course they do. Besides many growing up in a different time and era, you have the Republicans lambasting them with lies and deceit about health care reform.

    My own mother who voted for Obama was beginning to believe their outragous lies of death panels.

    Our senior citizens are very often the ones snake oil salesman types go after because they can be easily swayed and the fringe right as well as the lobbyists know this. They target them just as bad if not worse than the crooks out there.

    Dear God, they actually have the seniors believing that for profit insurance companies will protect them from the Governernment.

    October 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Robin in Tampa FL

    At the moment the only major legislation which the President has signed is the Stimulus bill ...everything else (healthcare, climate legislation, new afghan strategy) is either still in the pipe and is being subjected to modification, or will not happen this year (DADT repeal, immigration reform, Wall street reform).

    It's understandable that improving the system isn't easy, however it's completely outrageous that good legislation has to be gutted just to appease the same corporate interest groups which are hurting this country.

    October 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Obama supporter during the election:
    – polls are perfect

    Obama supporter whine list now
    – they didn't poll me personally so it doesn't count (math "whiz")
    – even though cell phone are polled – let's say they aren't
    – evil RNC conspiracy
    – Bush's fault
    – evil media conspiracy
    – racsit conspiracy
    – space alien landing (why not?)

    October 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    More people would agree with President Obama's approaches to our country's challenges if they would:

    – Take the time to do some thoughtful research instead of relying on sound bites from folks like Fox News and the GOP, both of which want our President and country to fail.

    – Accept the fact that the problems facing our country did not happen overnight and therefore will take some time to solve.

    – Accept there will be sacrifices involved in the process of cleaning up the mess left by 30 years of Reagan voodoo tinkle-down economics and 8 years of the Bush-Cheney Administration.

    It is our turn to be the Greatest Generation. Either you suck it up, get with the program and do your part to help our country, or you side with the obstructionists who only spread fear, division and hate in their efforts to regain power at the expense of everyone else.

    October 20, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. B

    It is evident that most people in this country over 55 are less tolerant about race than the current younger generation.

    The fact that a black man is in control is a phycological shock to many of them.

    Tolerance and understanding only comes with succeeding generations.

    This why we need term limits on Congress and bring new minds and ideas to the forefront.

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

    It is so amazing to me how BUSH messed this COUNTRY up for 8 years and President Obama has been President for how long???? President Obama will succeed no matter what some of you may think!!!

    October 20, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Barb

    Why is the headline "half the people disagree" instead of "half the people agree".... ?????? FOX is slanted, that's a given... but CNN?

    October 20, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Mason

    We can all agree on the SNL skit for his accomplishments – jack & squat. Humorous how CNN's Wolf prostrated himself in his standard water carrying/fact checking SNL skit on Obama. The rest of his instegitive journalism techniques are left to the balloon boy story.

    October 20, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. rob

    and they whole country & World disagreed with Bush , whats your point

    October 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. STevie

    Wow thats impressive reporting CNN! Are there no balloons today?

    You guys are pathetic!

    October 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Love my freedom

    Can one of you guilty conscience, Obama kool aid drinking, uneducated liberals tell me 5 "positive and productive" things this fraud-in-chief has done in his first year, without going back to the same copout of blaming Bush? I bet you can't do it. WHAT HAS HE ACCOMPLISHED?

    October 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Bob in Pa

    Everyone agrees that we need to improve our government. That doesn't mean turning our country upside down.

    October 20, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Danny J

    I love how people are passing the blame on senior citizens beause they're old selfish and senile. With age comes widsom, guys. These are American citizens and our elders, let's show some respect. If Obama, unlike most of the past Presidents, can't win them over, it's not their thinking that's wrong, it's Obama's.

    Oh, and 1,000+ people is a good sampling number, according to statistics. And a 50% approval rating is lower than George Bush's... sad.

    October 20, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Bob in Pa

    They always say History repeats itself. How did we get a city full of educated Lawyers and semi-educated representatives that did not pay attention in American History and Economics classes.

    October 20, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. johnathan

    CNN is showing it's true "Fox Lite" aspect with this bile.

    October 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. markiejoe

    senior citizens are Obama's lowest approval group quite simply because older people are the most likely to have a problem with race. the breath of hope in this nation is that for the young folks coming up race is more and more of a nonissue with each passing generation. As are so many of the other social issues that rankle our aged.

    October 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Dorothy, Kentucky

    Amazing to see the jealousy from the right. Nothing but something negative to say, which shows how much envy there is that we have a president that has a brain and can speak. Otherwise it there would not be all the personal attacks if it's the policies they disagreed with. You guys are sooo obvious. What does calling someone a rock star have to do with policy. At least when we criticized Bush it was about the war or other policies we didn't agree with.

    But it's okay that you guys think our president is a rock star. nothing wrong with rock stars. I bet a lot of you even like rock stars otherwise they wouldn't be so successful. Thanks for the compliment to our president.

    and by the way get used to having him around.

    October 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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