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. Linda from Minnesota

    I'd like to know who was polled. Everyone I talk to is thankful he is our president instead of John McCain and think that considering the mess he walked into, he's doing a great job. I shudder to think where the country would be if John McCain had won.

    October 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. George

    That isn't bad at all. 90 percent disagreed with Bush and Chenny. Barack is doing just fine.

    October 20, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. midwest

    In the 50% percent who disagree with Obama you have to include those who think he isn't going far enough. Doesn't mean there is some new shift to the right.

    October 20, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Ted

    Our country elected a very inexperienced man who had never really accomplished or led anything significant in his entire life. Obama simply does not have the experience, leadership or accomplishment skills to be an effective president. As more time passes, this will become evident to more and more Americans.

    October 20, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Tom C

    You have to understand the huge task that Obama has. 5 decades of presidents have not been willing to take on health care companies.
    That is 5 decades of unchecked profits for these companies. I am surprised that health care reform has reached this level. We just might get it. It will not be perfect, but neither is the republican party.

    October 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. PJ

    I wasn't contacted for this poll, but you can put me, my wife, family, and friends all in the NO column agreeing to the direction this president is leading our country. Even the die-hard liberals at work are unable to come to this administrations defense on the DoJ's rulings, leftist members of the administration, attacking news outlets, breaking campaign promises, piling more debt, more deficit spending, and just a general lack of leadership. Never has there been such unease about the next two years. Unless Obama starts addressing 80% of the population and stops cow-towing to special interest groups and organizations, there is going to be a huge problem in the upcoming year.

    October 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. andy

    Not everyone thinks Obama walks on water and believes everything he says. He talks all this bull about wanting to do things but dosen't want anyone to question it or how he will pay for it. He is alot of fluff but not much substance. The problem is the dems will not question anything he says. This will reflect in next years elections.

    October 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. mark

    Americans have spoken: no public option and no obama!

    October 20, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. tien

    Unemployment! Focus! Stop fluttering around campaigning and fundraising! Oh wait, is that Bush's fault too?

    October 20, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Melvin Williams

    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. This is really getting out of hand.

    October 20, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Bill in Calif

    FROM 'COMMUNITY ORGANIZER TO PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with a brief stop in the Senate to polish his resume and use taxpayer monies to campaign....WHAT DID U EXPECT?? DUH! Next time vote RECORD not HYPE AND SMOOTH TALK.

    October 20, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. ran

    CNN Why not: CNN poll: half the country agrees with Obama on issues.

    Why not accentuate the positive rather then the negative.

    Not as good for ratings if you don't see the glass as half empty right.

    October 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. jm for sc

    President Obama is doing a great job. Regardless of what people try to pretend. He has been president only 10 months and has improved our image world wide. We are further along than ever on health care. It is amazing how everyone wants benefits but does not want to pay for them. A new president does not mean that everything changes overnight. Just like Obama said during the campaign, this is not going to easy and there are not quick fixes to our problems.

    So many people disagree with the president because so many people does not read for themselves. They go by what others say.

    It's just like how so many people was so blind to believe the lie about the boy in the balloon. Not one person stop to wonder if there were two children outside playing, the other child should have seen if his brother floated away in the balloon. That is just how quickly Americans can be deceived. If it had been something the president said, every one would have had so many reasons not to believe him.

    No one polled me.

    October 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    Those of us who are unable or unwilling to accept change will always find it difficult to agree with changing anything – It is unfortunate that we are creatures of habit and it is very hard to teach the old dogs new tricks – P.S. I am 63 and very willing to go along with our president on what needs to be done – especially with healthcare reform – do it now with a PUBLIC OPTION!!!!!

    October 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Moe, NY

    I wasn't polled, but I do agree with our President on issues, and, I WANT A PUBLIC OPTION. Not too sure if I agree with this poll results, or any poll results for that matter.

    October 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Melvin Williams

    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.because this is really geting out of hand.

    October 20, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. patNY

    I wish someone could research the so called polling data for Reagan's first term...what did people think of his policies in the first month, then the first two months, then the first three months, then the first three months and one day, and then the [you get the idea]. If they aren't the same or worse, its only because Reagan put eveyone in a deluded state by giving them tax cuts which didn't do anything but make rich folk richer.

    October 20, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. Paul from Phoenix

    This is the same thing Bush did. When you govern from an extremem position, you alienate all but your true base.

    And make no mistake, Obama is an hard-core leftist.

    October 20, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. DanH

    WOW...anyone that ever had a joke about the intelligence level of our last president (myself–GUILTY). All they need to do is read the postings from those on the apparent left of this debate on this board to find that it is a widespread issue!!!! Perhaps, we should focus on education first. People who can actually spell words correctly or use proper grammer are far more likely to be in the position to argue their point on health care or an unpopular Presidents approval ratings.

    October 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Flo CT

    No one poll me, and why CNN always polling? I believe President Obama is doing a great job by the grace of God he makes it to 8 years. I always watch CNN, but now I am really disappointed with the media specially CNN. Please do that for me as a favor let President Obama do his job as a job, stop with that polling the World love him, the polling doesn’t matter.

    Go President Obama God is with you, your family, and your administration.

    Lots of love,

    October 20, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. PJ

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

    What is wrong with the "deep south and far right clergy?" Are they not Americans worthy of an opinion?

    October 20, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Tony in Dallas

    I have never been polled, so I wonder who are those that are always polled or are they only selecting the town-hall shouters? lol

    October 20, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Victim of Democratic greed

    Hard to rate him on how he is doing on the job as president, considering this man never works, too busy campaigning for every Democrat.

    October 20, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. Peter

    Polls will be polls. They change constantly just like the weather. Only time will tell. Also in a global economy there are other factors like, Oh the rest of the world that affect the economy. There is a certain amount of luck involved as far as how things turn out.

    October 20, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Doug

    I wonder if the people knew that the Press was being greatly manipulated, as Anita Dunn freely admitted in a foriegn country no doubt, if the election results would have been the same. Where is the outcry? If the Bush Administration had done this, and then talked about how they decieved the public, the media would be freaking out.

    But, not as much as a whisper can be heard.

    Instead, the country is seeing that they did not get what they thought they were paying for. The Man they elected said to jusde him by the people he surrounds himself with....................After further review, I would like a mulligan.

    October 20, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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