July 22nd, 2010
12:30 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval dips but not among blacks

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.getty.obama.seal.jpg caption ="President Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent again, according to a new CNN poll."] Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating among all Americans has dipped below 50 percent for the first time since March, but he remains extraordinarily popular among African-Americans, who also overwhelmingly approve of how the president has handled race relations, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday indicates that 47 percent of the public approves of the job Obama is doing in the White House, with half saying they disapprove of his performance in office.

Full results [PDF]

According to the poll, more than nine out of ten black respondents give Obama a thumbs up on how he is handling his job. 57 percent of Hispanics questioned also approve, but only 37 percent of white respondents feel that way.

The survey's release comes as stories about racial tensions have dominated domestic news coverage the past two weeks. The poll was conducted July 16-21, after a well publicized dispute between the Tea Party movement and the NAACP, but mostly before the controversial firing of an African-American employee of the Agriculture Department because of alleged racism.

Overall, 12 percent of all Americans think that Obama's presidency has started a new era in race relations and another 39 percent say race relations have improved since Obama took office. A quarter of all Americans say there has been no change in race relations during that time and another 25 percent say that race relations have gotten worse.

"Most blacks continue to believe that Obama has led to an improvement in race relations, while most whites don't think so," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But the optimism about racial matters that first greeted Obama is gone."

The survey indicates that 59 percent of blacks think that race relations will always be a problem. That figure is back up to pre-Obama levels last measured in 2005, and is 14 points higher than last year. The number of whites who think race relations will always be a problem is also up - from 42 percent last year to 47 percent now.

"Blacks, Hispanics and whites agree that the Democratic party does a good job reaching out to minorities, and all groups also agree that the Republican party does not," adds Holland.

Thirty-nine percent of blacks say they are still thrilled by the fact that Obama is president. That's down from 53 percent who felt that way at the start of his presidency.

"But the drop-off started over a year ago and is not a reflection of recent events," points out Holland.

What about the year and a half old Tea Party movement?

According to the poll, a quarter of all Americans believe that almost all or most Tea Party supporters are prejudiced against minorities, and another 35 percent say that at least some are. The survey indicates that blacks are much more likely than whites to perceive racism in the tea party.

The poll's release also comes on the same day that Netroots Nation convention, a major annual conference of progressives, kicks off in Las Vegas. The convention occurs at a time when some in the progressive community are disappointed in the Obama Administration for not pushing harder for more of their agenda. According to the survey, 38 percent of respondents disapprove of the president's performance in office because he is too liberal, but nine percent say the give Obama the thumbs down because is not liberal enough.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned. A special sample of 308 African-Americans and 303 Hispanics were interviewed for this poll. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNN Polls • President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. mike

    They are racist, they only support him because he is black. If a white President had the same policies as Obama they would hate him too.
    They are color blind.

    July 22, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. ramtruck2500

    Pretty much says 37% of white America has gotten beyond the black thing, while63% have not period. I don't see that as bad.

    July 22, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Mark from Louisiana

    Blacks will vote for whomever will give them free food, free housing and now....free cell phones!

    July 22, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Baby Boomer

    This is no surprise. Historically, we have continued to support the President we helped elect. We continued to support President Clinton even when he created a personal mess in the White House. We continued to support Jimmie Carter through out his Presidency. By the way, this is no different then Bush supporters who still approve of how he handled his 8 years in the White House. I don't see where this is news...

    July 22, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Darrell Greyson

    This poll goes to show that all people dont feel like Obama should be the mediator of race relations just because he's black and the president. And misperception from many people believe thats his job and his job is to manage and govern as president. No other president has been placed in this position where he they have to constantly deal with growing sentiments that its reverse racism because people who were once entitled and priviledged are now out of work. Alot of African americans and latino's have been out of work and we never needed a movement to claim discrimination as so many groups claim today, and why is that?

    July 22, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Diane Butler

    President Obama is doing an excellent job,especially after coming
    into office where the former president left a disaster. Two wars is
    enough for any president to handle, never mind a financial crisis and
    high employment. Oh, let us not forget all of a sudden hispanics have
    become the people to demonize. How long have people crosssed to
    boarder to work.

    July 22, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Angus McDugan

    I wonder why that is? No answer from me, but just asking.

    July 22, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Frank

    Oh my, what a big surprise, NOT!!!! Blacks should understand that they have many, many, more intelligent and capable leaders among them that could have been an excellent President rather than this community organizer with no leadership abilities and a socialist agenda!!! I wish they would realize this, wake up, and reject this Nobama guy who raise to power only by the efforts of a corrupt mass media that is now also beginning to realize their mistake! CNN, you are one of them!!!!

    July 22, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Jimmy B.

    Over 90% approve. That shows this is more about color than policy and performance.

    July 22, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Oregon Calling

    And his numbers are still good among us that actually think.

    Peace 🙂

    July 22, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. Senior, NC

    Obama lied, lied, He said that seniors would not pay federal taxes if he got elected?

    July 22, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    Considering all the systemic destruction and social pollution that was left in the wake of the failed Bush/Cheney eight year term it's amazing that Obama has such a high approval rating. It's odd how as a middle aged white guy I'm in the "minority".
    I know Obama is doing a great job.
    Keep it up President Obama, you've got a lot more to do and we need you.

    July 22, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. Mance Lotter

    they think obama has improved race relations??? that either shows 1) they're not paying attention or 2) they can't look beyond the color of his skin to judge his performance objectively

    July 22, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Shannon

    ..."37% of white respondents think favorably of Obama"...I wonder if the questioners had probed further, and asked how many of these respondents watched fox news what would the answer have been? Also, who are these people calling? no one has ever called me or anyone I know to ask our opinion

    July 22, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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