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. Polarization sets in

    Let's see 47% of American taxpayers do not pay any federal taxes whatsoever – $0 Zip – Nada. They must be the ones that are for Obama. The other 53% of Americans are the taxpayers that actually contribute something to this country; these people must disagree with Obama. Yup macro economics and national politics are beginning to make sense now

    October 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Marry

    If this was the truth, I would have to say that many people start suffering from loss of memory! But, I do not think that these polls are accurate. There is much more support of the President and his work; the supporter are just not as vocal and as obnoxious as the Fox crowd!

    October 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. mario mtl ca

    cnn your poll and comments are absurd

    October 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Colorado Mom

    what poll? It was not sent to me. ? I do not agree, Obama is doing an exceptional job, considering what he had to overcome. Have we forgotten about the failed "Bush" years and where that all led us? 8-years of negligent war effort, failing economy, jobs. ?? Give our Presiden a chance, after all he won the vote, didn't he? Are you looking for instant gratification or is this a continued sabotage of our "will" ? Please answer that question.
    Colorado Mom

    October 20, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Jack

    55% agree that he is handling his White House duties well. Now would that be getting up in the morning, reading his emails, making sure the latest foreign diplomat is greeted properly. Just exactly what is the difference from his "duties" to his handling of healthcare, gays in the military, two wars, homeland security???? I am very suspect of polls and now I am even more so.

    October 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. JS007

    You have the likes of Fox Propaganda spreading hate against him 24/7 and his ratings drop somewhat, then he makes a speech and the ratings are back up, so I'm not too worried. Obama is doing the right thing, well, the best he can given the corrupt Congress and the awful situation he inherited. We get frustrated with him because we expect so much of him; that does not mean we'd want anyone else.

    October 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Angi's mom

    The only poll that's important is on election day 2012. Considering the alternatives, I gladly cast my vote for President Obama, but I'm really disgusted with Congress.

    October 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Padraig

    This was expected, the president is unable to meet his promises during the campaign. We are still in Iraq, Afghanistan, and still have detainess at GITMO. All were suppose to have been resolved by now. GITMO was to close or that was the first thing he was to do. In fact the news media are having a harder time getting in to meet with the prisoners, see the living conditions, etc... This is with the house and the senate controlled by the Democratic party. His ability to lead is poor. He couldn't poor pee out of a boot with the instructions on the bottom.

    We are headed for hard times, only the bankers, auto manufacturers, and loan companies have profitied. We are still loosing our jobs and our homes. Our defecit went from 1.2 trillion to over 9 trillion in a span of less than a year. Worse times are on the horizon.

    October 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Anthony

    People who don't like Obama don't understand what the heck he has to go through. Until you become president then you will never know. People may not like him because they don't understand him or the words he speaks. People need to pick up a dictionary. People complain and talk about presidents,but think about what he has to go through. Polls don't matter issues do and think about what our country is going through, "it ain't cause of Obama, but cause of the famous vegetation we all know BUSH.

    October 20, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. enough bariumenemasinlasvegas

    The same morons on the right that voted FOR G. Bush and FOR S. Palin, and AGAINST Obama are now polling against Obama. Under what slimey rock at the bottom of what dark cave would this come as a surprise?!! And these very same neo-morons are now claiming that Obama is dropping in the polls?...dropping from what? 50% of Americans are flat-out idiots, as proven by their voting record for [R]s in the 2000,2004,2008 elections......these same 50% were never for Obama, and they will never be for Obama...they are too brain-dead to be for Obama.

    By the way I am white, middle class, and independent, and I SUPPORT President Obama. I find his agenda very smart and middle of the road for the most part, and it is every bit as advertised during his campaign. So I guess all you rightwingers who vacuously claim that all he has is support from the far-left blacks and communists, take ALL your talking points and your worldview from the delusional fairytales told to you everyday by your lords on Fux News. Boy, there is a recipe for national success....NOT.

    October 20, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Craig from Pennsylvania

    He's doing a great job considering the absolute mess that was left by the previous administration. Who do the republicans have that can do better under the circumstances???? My guess is absolutely no one. Maybe Bush and Co. should have been MADE to stay in office until he cleaned up his own mess!!!

    October 20, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Isidoro from Bonn

    ... chant and chant! ...never get tired until the depressed get more depressed! but the president will always walk to walk and talk to talk! Let wait and see what 2012 will show us!

    October 20, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. aa

    this poles dont mean anything

    October 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |

    I believe that there are many Americans that simply do not understand what the problems and the proposals to solve them are. An example of these would be the "Public Option" in the Health Care Bill and what is the long term proper strategy is in Afganistan. The GOP and the extreme Right, I believe, have twisted the truths about so many issues that it is confusing for many Americans to understand the issues. This leads to many disagreeing with the President mainly due to their lack of truthful knowledge of the facts.

    October 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Lori in St Pete

    Seniors are just mad because they aren't getting a social security increase this year. Guess what ya greedy old jerks? Most people lucky enough to still have a job have had their wages/hours CUT. Less money is making it into the government coffers, so they have less to pay out. Meanwhile, younger people have higher expenses -rent/mortgage, higher property taxes, struggling to raise 1 child vs. the 5 or six YOUR generation was able to afford on just one income. Times have changed and it was that brain dead B-movie actor the right insisted on crowning king in 1980 that started this whole nightmare scenario. You reap what you sow, so stop whining.

    October 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. katiec

    I would never put much creditibility in a poll taken by CNN or any
    news media.
    CNN has been against health care reform and our president these
    last months, showing their bias in web headlines and with their
    TV programs. They are confrontational, accusing and right out
    rude with any Democrat or supporter when interviewing and
    practically lick the boots of the republicans, never addressing what
    are out and out lies etc.
    So, takepolls with a grain of salt. The outcome depends on the
    bias of who are conducting them.

    October 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Lori in St Pete

    It isn't like the seniors who are angry voted for Obama, so who cares what they think?

    October 20, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. did they ask me

    I am tired of these polls. Who are they polling and how? Did they bother to ask me? I mean when Jessica Simpson was crowned as America Sweethear in 2007, did they ask me? So, these polls did not bother to ask me or several people I know. I want to know who are they asking?

    October 20, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Voter

    Is 50% supposed to be a surprising number? Wasn't he elected with a little over 50% of the vote??

    October 20, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Jeff

    We are a center- center country, not center right; that's what Rush wants you to believe. 80% of the country is somewhere in the middle, 10% far right, 10% far left.

    Public option? Seriously, should this even be an issue? No one should ever hear another story where a friend or family member had to declare bancruptsy over medical bills, no one.

    The other issues? Obama is solidly in the middle, sometimes a bit right, sometimes a bit left.

    Turn off hate radio and think for yourself!

    October 20, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. cate

    and last week, 62% of ppl wanted the public option...what is up with you ppl??? I would like to see exactly who you polled, break down the #'s (ie: states, party affiliation, age, gender, etc., etc.)..until you do that your #'s mean nothing...look at what happened with "Rasmussen" (partly owned by Fox-when someone leaked their polling data, it was discovered that 80% of the ppl called were either R's or leaned toward being an R)...and where you get the senior #, agan I don't know..go to some nursing homes, parks, etc. and you may be surprised...I live in FL and quite frankly of all of the seniors I've had the chance to talk to, are either with our Pres. all the way or are willing to give him the time necessary to heal this country...you should hear them talk about Dubya and his crew!!

    October 20, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    My Dad is 85 and a WWII vet. He whole heartedly supports Barack Obama. I don't know who you are asking but obviously not him. Some where in that 1/2 is the 27% who still think "W" did a fine job. There is no pleasing them so the sooner he gives that up the better. But I have to say that since people approve of the job he is doing even if they disagree about specifics that must be he is doing something right..

    October 20, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Rob

    This cracks me up. So few people know anything about statistical analysis and polling, but consider themselves expert enough to challenge professional poll results. Is it so hard to believe that the country is roughly 50/50 divided? Is this a big suprise? Guess what? Half of us ARE conservative, half of us are not. That is why we have a two party system decade after decade. The fact is that not everyone agrees with him, and they shouldn't. In 4 or 8 years the pendulum will swing again the other way.

    October 20, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Sue who hasnt' been polled and thinks Obama is doing great

    How many of those polled are Republicans who only watch FOX News? I wish they'd break down these numbers so you can understand them better.

    October 20, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. mjm

    This should read "More Than 50% Disagree..."

    Plummeting support down from 57% to 48% That's a huge drop, considering that the majority of people participating in polls are Democrats.

    This guy is going to make Carter look like JFK.

    October 20, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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