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. Jack

    Most Americans over the age of 65 who disapprove of Obama have racist tendencies.

    October 20, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Concerned

    Really? That many agree w/the President.... THAT is surprising!

    October 20, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Dorothy

    It is interesting to note that in your article you referred to the President as President Barack. After being a CNN fan for many years, I have been shocked by the administration's belittling of another news organization and therefore started watching to see what the fuss is about. I find Fox News to be elevating and enjoyable. I think Pres. Obama is just used to the "Barack" treatment; i.e., everything he says is great and everything he does is great coming from other "news" organizations.

    October 20, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. silvertop

    Why did his approval slipped? Here's one reason.

    I read his books and respected his desire to help the less priviledged. I then realized the path he has chosen to fulfil his goal. He surrounds himself with people and advisors who advocate or admire Socialistic, Marxist, and Communistic ideology whose leaders generally do not honor human rights. The irony is that the democrats made it their trademark to extol human rights. Mao executeded, imprisoned, tortured millions who happened to have been born wealthy, or educated through hard work, or did not subscribe to communism. Obama's communication director "came to" Mao as her favorite political philosopher when it comes to making choices as she advised high school students. (Check this out from her own words as recent as June 5 this year). There has been no denouncement about that from him or any democratic leaders.

    All these people are Obama's choosing. For that, he loses credibility with peopel who care about principles more that politics.

    October 20, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    CNN Poll: Half the country disagrees with Obama on issues ... you mean the same half that agree with Bush issues?? Those are the half that NOW don't agree with Obama .... wow good poll CNN.

    October 20, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. fred

    My family has never been polled. We all disapprove of Obama and the government takeover of healthcare.

    October 20, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. normajean

    Once and for all may we lend less credence to polls? I have been around a longgg time and have NEVER been polled. My friends say they never have and my family hasn't either. Just who makes up these figures anyway, No matter how you slice , it's still baloney. THE POLLS ARE A FRAUD!

    October 20, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. USMC VET - Boston

    Yeah and what did bush and chenney – GOP war monggers do, except bring the country to her knees financially, to include being single-handlely responsible for the death of thousands of American lives in Iraq.

    America is still scared the a black man is the leader of the free world and the 45% of America needs to get over it and stop being so negative. Where were they when bush and his cronnies destroyed the American economy?

    October 20, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Dem in AZ

    It is not suprising to see Obama do poor with Seniors and I dont mean all. I just think Obama needs more specifics to sway the Hillanites and the mod republicans about health care.

    October 20, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. RanDe from SoCal

    I suspect those numbers will continue to increase as the true Obama and the true Obama agenda becomes more apparent. Sometimes you have to rely on just more than hope you have to face the facts. The hijacked Democratic Party by the liberal elite and Obama want socialism, nothing less.

    October 20, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Obie is a Socialist

    Let Obama ram everything through and he will see only his die hard liberials vote for him only.

    Cap and Tax
    Welfare Healthcare

    October 20, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Jamie

    President Obama is finding out just how much Americans do not care about each other. What Americans care about is money, power, and self. We say we care, we say we are generous, we say we are tolerant and open-minded. Actions speak louder than words.

    October 20, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. harold

    More than half the country..."The USA.."...do not even know that the USA government saved Capitalism by bailing everyone out.. Nor did they even have a clue about credit card spending themselves into a tight situation nor did they the people of the USA even know they were close to an Economic cliff.. And some fell off.. and crying all the way down in their fall.... for money from the USA govenment.. to save them.......... So who knows what?

    October 20, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Gerry

    Count me amoung the 1/2 of the county that DOES agree with Obama on the issues; the other will come around once they see that it is in their own best and self interest that they do so; give them some time and rewrite your headlines.

    October 20, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Phat Elvis

    Bush was at 26% approval, so Obama is twice as popular as the last guy.

    October 20, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. John jr

    is this any surprise given the out and out lies and deciet the population has been spoon fed by tghe republican dogs!

    October 20, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. TM in CO

    Maybe if he would actually do what he promised to do during the campaign, this would be a non issue. I voted for him and I don't agree with him most of the time, but at least we aren't at war with Iran or any other country that may snub their noses at America.

    October 20, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Liberals make me puke

    well...DUH..

    Aren't you guys over at CNN supposed to be journalists reporting facts? polls are opinions

    October 20, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. phoenix86

    Americans need to realize that for Obama it simply does not matter what they think. He has never once considered what Americans want, he only considers what he thinks Americans need.

    That is why his presidency is, and will be, considered such a failure.

    October 20, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Put your reading glasses on people...............

    All of you pointing to these polls have lost site of the fact; President Obama is delivering what he promised. People don't understand President's sign legistlation brought to their desk. President's also push for legistlation eventually ending up on their desk that they promise to sign during elections. But President's don't create their own legistlation and sign it. if they do, they take the chance at legistlation being overturned later in another President's term......like President Bush. The questions posed in many of these polls are created by Conservative pollsters who seek specifically selected questions that can only be answered with a "yes" or "no" oblivious to our system of Government and how legistlation is actually made law....when a President is actually following the law...............

    October 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. RAG

    Leaders do the right thing, not the popular thing. The question is not "Do you agree with what Obama is doing?" but "Do you believe in his intent, capability and method of insuring that it is done well?".

    While Obama has now reached Bush-like numbers on agreement with what he was doing, if the right question was asked, even Laura would vote "no confidence" in Bush's intent, capability and method.

    October 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. mikeanexcuse insyracuseny

    I find it amusingly telling that the very neo-morons who voted, not once but TWICE!!!!, for arguably the worst and most incompetent president in the 20th and 21st centuries, now find it within their purview to judge the competancy of a new president who they didn't have the brains to vote for....a president who is deeply involved in SOLVING all the problems left by their idiot-in-charge and the lemming [R] congress who allowed themselves to be led around by the nose for 6 straight years.

    Obama a Rock Star-in-Chief? Yes, I suppose he is, and deservedly so.

    The delusion, hypocrisy, and stupidity it takes to continue to defend the empty [R] principles that have so abjectly FAILED is just stunning.

    October 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. kevin

    And 90% Disagreed with Bush on issues...and?........

    October 20, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    And 5 will get you 10 that the people who disagree with Obama can't articulate it either!

    Make them explain their position, and they'll have to get back to you when Rush, Hannity and Beck give them the next set of speaking points.

    October 20, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Peter s

    Can we change the constitution and accomondate President Barack Obama for life??. This guys is a combo of FDR and Mandela! take or leave it, it will take America another century to produce such a smart gentleman!!.

    October 20, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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