September 24th, 2010
12:13 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama at all time low

(CNN) – President Barack Obama is contending with the lowest approval rating of his 20-month presidency, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds.

The president's approval rating now stands at 42 percent – an all time low in CNN polling and 8 points lower than where Obama was only three weeks ago. Moreover, 56 percent of all Americans think the president has fallen short of their expectations. (More poll results)

The president's sagging poll numbers couldn't come at a worse time for congressional Democrats, themselves facing a nine-point deficit in the so-called "generic ballot" question heading into the midterm elections. In fact, the president's approval rating is the same as that of President Clinton's in 1994 – the midterm election year that saw Republicans wrest control of both the House and Senate.

In even worse news for congressional Democrats, likely voters say they are considerably more likely to vote for a candidate the president opposes than one he supports. On the other hand, 50 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a Tea Party-backed candidate while a third of Americans said Tea Party support would dissuade their vote for a candidate.

Still, the president can take some solace in the fact several past presidents have been beset by slumping numbers at the 2-year mark: In addition to Clinton, both Reagan and Jimmy Carter found their support at 42 percent at this point in their first term. Of course, Clinton and Reagan went on to big reelection wins only two years later.

Filed under: 2010 • President Obama
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    This is not a problem of President Obama failing as a President. It is a problem of Republicans having success at demonizing him and making him look like the bad guy with all their lies. If a person were to sit back and take a look at what has happened in our economy they will see that while President Obama has made efforts to correct the down fall of our economy, Republicans have objected at every turn. Republicans are good at making people see others as demons but if you look at what they say they will do if returned to power it's scary. They have said openly that they will repeal everything done by President Obama and go back to doing things the way they were doing them in 2008. People, open your eyes and think. That's the very crap that got us in this mess..

    September 24, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Bill

    Obama may win in 2012, but his own party is running away from him during the midterm. He had control of both houses since 2006, so blaming this on Bush isn't gonna work. You asked for the job, you got it, so figure it out or move on. Reagan and Clinton got skunked in the midterms, both went on to landslide wins. I am so sick of the far left and far right in this country and the ignorance of the argument. No one in this country is listening to the majority in the center, we hear the nuts on the far left and the radicals on the far right.

    September 24, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Richard T.

    The leadership and strategic planners of the Democratic Party need to (re) watch Michael Douglas' closing press conference in the movie An American President. The President, Senators and Representatives need to "Do their job" rather than cowering to "keep their jobs." Take on the republican bullies. They will only continue to bully until the leadership stands-up. Prove Democrats are not "Phony Liberal Facist Frauds." Force Republicans to maintain a quorum while actually doing a real filabuster, enforce Senate rule 22, in the Sentate and stay in session in both houses to complete taxes cuts for the middle-class and repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell along with the other very popular issues, such as closing Gitmo. Stop rhetoric and actually take action. Announce plan to bring a "Public Option" into the healthcare legislation. Force both parties to stay and work for solutions and the future rather than going home for re-election. The party and its leaders have sold-out their base, liberals and progressives.

    September 24, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |

    I'M SOOOOO PROUD OF THIS PRESIDENT.........Things will get better, and everyone will have to eat humble pie........This man doesn't deserve the hate and or skepticism that's out there...........Other than that, I will show my support in November.......GOP-TEA PARTY, bring it ON!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. independent

    I think he is doing a great job. I would like to see all Liberals and Progressives speaking positively of this administration and addressing the GOP more along the lines of class conflict. The sheeple of the Republican Party can allow their greedy leaders to shear them, but we shouldn't let the Independents get led astray by the same lies.

    September 24, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course he is going to be at an all time low when Republicans and their tea bagger friends get ten times the coverage. Anything he has tried to accomplish gets mowed over by the sensationalism of the right wing extremists. And of course no one wants to hear that 30 years of "conservative" (read hand-outs to the rich) policies destroyed us. They just blame the guy currently in charge. It's easier than doing some research on your own and actually having to think. Thanks, CNN, for contributing, all in the name of ratings. This extremism looking mainstream media meme is destroying us. Hope it's worth the ad dollars.

    September 24, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. stufit

    Can't believe that you see some of the dope smokers saying how great Obama is doing. He is the most corrupt, incompetent, inept, union toady president we have ever had. Hey union kool aid drinking, non thinkers, did you see those guys drinking and smoking dope at Chrysler. How many billions did Obama steal from us to save those jobs? Oh that's right the corrupt UAW bosses also got their golf course fixed up with stimulus money, didn't they. Corrupt unions love Obama.

    September 24, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. emmett brown

    This is what is funny, Obama is on his own. The Sen. Dem are crowards, the man is trying all he can without help from anyone. It eally does not matter how has control of the House and Senate, the Dem are scared anyway. He has done healthcare, wall street reform, credit card reform, housing reform, shut down the war in Iraq and help the US auto industry stay afloat, but that nothing.. All the policy he has came up with helps the people, stimulas money was givin to Staes and the Gov. of these States mis-managed the money instead of hiring people. The States Gov. are getting away with murder, example the NJ Gov. who missed out on funding because the state sent in the wrong information. The Gov. states Obama should have told us it was crazy is that.....And for the polls, Dem don't poll, we just go vote.....Poll that....

    September 24, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Frank Parker - Mountain Home, Arkansas

    Mr. President, you have my support, and I will surely back any Democrat that wants to run against the Party of NO! I said it before and I will say it again, this could be the greatest country on earth, If it isn't already, if we could just get the people in Washington working together in stead of trying to show their ignorance. They all love this country, I know that, but they just cannot put aside their differances for the betterment of us all. And I do not understand that philosphy.

    September 24, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. independent

    With all the up-coming openings in the Administration, is there a place for Jeff Zucker. Everyone says they need some additional business input, it couldn't hurt that he is media savy. Which position would be best for him, where can he help?

    September 24, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Hey, we can always go back to the past that got us in this mess. And as far as jobs, there are plently since the Mexicans are being run out of this country, so stop complaining and go pick some grapes, oranges, apples and vegetables, the minimum wage isn't bad if you really want a job. McDonalds is always hiring as well as many other minimum wage paying jobs, Stop complaining and go to work.

    September 24, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. BeverlyNC

    President Obama is the most intelligent, successful, people-focused President we have had in my lifetime. He has handled many complicated issues at once and resolved them all with smart, thoughtful solutions. I still stand with MY President who I support as much as the day I jumped around my living room when he was elected President,
    He has been amazing but he is not a magician who can wave away a decade of failed Republican acts that sent millions of our jobs overseas, began a lie of a war in Iraq that cost us BILLIONS a month and ran up our deficit to where it is today. Where were all these tea baggers and whiners when Bush was violating the Consitution, commiting war crimes and running our country into an economic disaster???
    We have an outstanding President with character, integrity, and honesty. Values matter and so does an honest leader. He will lead us back to greatness and will restore the middle class to being the main focus of our country.
    I don't care about polls. I care about results and Democrats are DELIVERING real solutions and our people and our country are moving forward. Republicans want to destroy America again for their personal advantage. During the economic freefall under Bush, the rich got richer and corporations ran wild with no regulations. We the People were the ones who suffered and were IGNORED ny Republicans. Democrats are focused on YOU AND I 100% and all you have to do is look at all the laws they passed on our behalf. Democrats have worked HARD for us while Republicans sat and did NOTHING but vote NO on everything. They betrayed the People and only stood with the white rich elitists and the large corporations who paid them to vote as they wanted. Now Republicans have released a "pledge" which slaps People in the face again. iIt calls for tax cuts for the richest Americans, calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment benefits and even closing public schools. It is nothing but a re-worded Bush policy duplicate. It's disgusting and completely anti-American and anti-middle class. Stand up for the Democrats who have stood up for YOU. Get out and vote for the Party of the People. We need Democrats to keep and increase their Majority for our country to keep moving forward and at a faster pace.

    September 24, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Tinkers Dam

    What happened to "transparency" and "governing from the middle." President Obamatard is nothing but a liar. He, along with Reid and Pelosi, are what's sinking the Dems.

    September 24, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Fed Up

    Why wouldn't his polls be slipping? FIrst of all, he was dubbed he Messiah by the media in order to get hm elected. Now we find out he's just a regular man who has no ideas on what to do. The economy is just perfect. No problem there, if you listen to him and his cronies. Don't listen to the millions of unemployed though. Health insurance? The rates have gone down, except for the 99% that have gone up. The insurance companies now have unlimited liabilty, so who do you think is going to pay for that? I think Pelosi, Reid, Obama and all the rest of the Dems that voted for it should open their pockets and pay for those increases. No, I don't see why his polls are slipping. Vote 'em in. Vote 'em out.

    September 24, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Sam Ellison

    Still 17% higher than Bush's lowest.

    September 24, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. anagram_kid

    I cannot even begin to imagine how poorly the economy would be performing had McCain been elected. Not to mention that we would probably be in yet another unfunded war with Iran and possibly North Korea. I think he is doing a great job and I have no regrets about my vote. He remains the best choice.

    September 24, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Cindie Worley

    42% is much too high an approval rate. I can't believe there are still that many people who hang onto every lie he makes. Are these 42% his followers who only take from the government over the dead bones of hard-working Americans? I am astonished at each post that says he is doing a great job. He is not. But it's not his fault; it's Bush's fault, of course!! Also the fault of the millions of people who let themselves be fooled by his slick talking. He remains an empty suit (but a slick talking empty suit).

    September 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Eric

    Yep, he's doing a great job and democrats have been successful. No need to change! Just keep on telling yourselves that... right up to election day. 😉

    September 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Rosey

    This is BS. He covered so much issues that needed to be fixed, how are we to expect more!!?? No matter what he does its never enough. I think he's doing the best job he can considering all the stones that continue to be thrown his way. I'm so sick of polls, yet I still look. why?

    September 24, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. kyle from ohio

    What about polling the Repub new plan to Govern, and see what numbers you get from that. Considering they fail in their attempt to explain how they were going to reduce the Debt, Most of their plan will increase the debt overall. So are they socialism or communist also???? You see most American " Not just a Tea-Partier" would like to see the borrow and spend (repub) and tax and spend (dems) to address the financial problems of our nation, but Party over country witha little hate in the mix is short-changing the possibilities. FYI if i had to make a choice between the 2 i take tax and spend over borrow and spend (that way they do not have to take their country back from China)

    September 24, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. GMAN

    Has anyone heard from Glenn Beck lately?

    September 24, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. Tracee Sheffield

    Did anyone follow George Bush Sr and George Bush Jr popularity ratings this closely? Did anyone, including you CNN, constantly bash former republican presidents for failing to live up to the "promises" after being in office only 20 months? Did any of you even pay attention when President Obama told the American people that it would probably take more that his 4 years in office to come even close to rectifying problems that the U.S. has faced as a direct result of the Bush Administration. Do you even know that when the Clinton Administration ended and was handed to the Bush Administration, the U.S. was in a financial surplus?? The reason why you don't know or don't care is because this is not about President Obama not full-filling promises, this is about swaying the masses and hurting the Obama image or perception to guarantee he is not re-elected for a second term. Mob mentality is sickning. CNN you are as transparent as Saran Wrap

    September 24, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. BD70

    I think Obama is doing a great job! I will vote for him again in 2012.

    September 24, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. anagram_kid

    I seriously doubt this poll. His critics are very loud and that is what sells newspapers, or these days ‘gets clicks’. Most of these people have been complaining about him since he announced his candidacy. It has very little to do with his views, his decisions or his actions. They simply hate him for his abilities and intelligence. Nothing will ever satisfy these people, because to acknowledge his (and the country’s) success would require they admit they were wrong.

    September 24, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. RobRoy

    If Obama was white and a far right wing lunatic fringe hawk right wing militant he would be doing an AAA PLUS job but since he is Black and a Liberal and against Jewish extension of illegal settlements he is never going to do any good as long as CNN is reporting and as long as CNN is run by the Jews. We all know this. What else did anyone expect except bad press from CNN which is all and Liberal gets from the far right.

    September 24, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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