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. Sean Devereaux

    I too don't know who's being polled, but if the American people vote in a majority of GOP they will reap the rewards of their short sightedness thereafter. Don't make rash decisions out of fear. It makes no senses to run back open arms to the same group of people that had pushed the knife up to the hilt in your collective backs not so long ago. Don't be so myoptic

    September 24, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Guess Who

    So this black woman stood up and told the whole world; to paraphrase “she is getting sick and tired of him". This kind of thing would never been allowed to happen in a George Bush town hall meeting. So after this successful trolling, a whole lot of people are now comfortable to spew their negative emotions towards him. I wish Obama the best of luck as he gives these people ‘their country back’.
    Getting giddy for a President Palin yet?

    September 24, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. getreal !!

    for anyone with anything negative to say, where were you when bush was destroying your country ?
    anyone who has anything negative to say about Obama is either stupid or racist. the mess that he inherited will take many years to fix ! you continued mindless comments just reminds the rest of the world just how foolish the american public can be.

    September 24, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Hope A. Dope

    Looks like the center has abandoned Sir HopenChange also. Seems like the average working American is not buying the socialist schtick anymore. That just leaves the koolaid drinkers, union thugs, limosuine liberal elites, the welfare crowd, and illegal immigrants in his camp. Did I miss anyone?

    September 24, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    Let's see -

    We're not in a depression.
    We have healthcare reform.
    We're getting out of places our armies shouldn't have been due to Bush's illegal wars
    The world likes America again.
    America is respected by foreign powers again.
    The banks didn't fail.
    The big businesses are surviving, some are thriving.

    Is it any wonder why the GOPers don't like Obama? He's undoing all the damage Bush and his regime did.

    CNN really shouldn't be polling rethuglicans. These folks think Palin is relevant and not as dumb as a bag of rocks. What do they know?

    September 24, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Sue

    People are REALLY STUPID! This President has done so much to get us out of a BIG HOLE. We were on the verge of a DEPRESSION....on the verge of losing our CAR MANUFACTURING....we have CORRECTED the financial regulations so we don't go here again....he has given us health care reform...which although it does not have a public is a GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT...I could go on and people need to get a grip....where do you think we would be if the republicans were in charge....the party of NO and HATE.....
    At least this President is focusing on the COUNTRY....Grow up and see how great you have it with this President and please oh please do not vote in any republlican back into office until they grow up and show up to govern. Their behavior this past year has been CHILDISH!

    September 24, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. wevelostit


    obama has my support 100% because I see all the hate coming from the right and the obstructionism! that entire right wing in the senate and house need to be voted out and they will be come november!!! and these tea partiers gotta go!
    You have a very appropriate name. It's people like YOU who put this clown into offiice who is trying to adversly change America. Thank God there are people who say "NO" to his insane plans and stand up for people who don't want his "kind" of America. Only 2 short years until we send the Community Organizer back to Chicago. What a joke of a President, and I thought Jimmy Carter was bad.

    September 24, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. steve

    Classic response of shooting the messenger. If nothing else, REMEMBER: The alternative to Obama is what got us Obama. Don't forget!

    September 24, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Mike

    CNN Is a great source of information relating to Obama!

    September 24, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    Ah, the libs hate polls now that they constantly show the failures of liberal policies in falling approval ratings! It does not matter whether they poll people on cell phones or land lines, Americans do not like these liberals running our country!! It is time for Obama to go on another apology tour but this time he should go around the USA and apologize for his failed policies!!!

    September 24, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Dale

    You can fool all of the people some of the time but most of them eventually wise up.

    September 24, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. A True Centrist

    Is anyone surprised by this? The administration spent $800,000,000,000 on a failed stimulus package, touted the "Recovery Summer" and has fought for one unpopular bill after another. Time to listen Mr President, we won't put up for this any longer. We put our trust in you and you let us down.

    September 24, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Laughable

    President Obama is NOT the's the republicans BLOCKING PROGRESS! of course everything's not gonna be where we want it when someone keeps standing in the way! things would be so much better if republicans and yes some democrats passed what needed to be passed instead of blocking it or fillerbustering it! i'm DISGUSTED with the right wing nuts and disturbed by these idiot tea party candidates! the most important thing is going out to the polls and ensure that these republicans do not get back into office and certainly not any of these nut job tea party candidates either!

    September 24, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. angry liberal

    Obama really brought htis on himself. The conservatives were going to dislike him no matter what he did. BUT all the middle and liberals who voted for him were given unbeliveable lists of big changes and sweeping reforms. Of course he could not do them all. It is his fault for promising the moon to stupid voters. Even some of the slam-dunks like gays in the military has been a painful sad process to witness.

    In the end many liberals are angry because we see he is more status quo than change. Who is left to give support? Only the semi-liberals who cannot remember all those promises and go just on the last sound bite.

    September 24, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. new york

    No weapon formed against Obama shall prosper!!! He is in GOD's favor and the devil is busy!! But good always triumps evil...I'm just keeping Pres Obama and his family in my prayers....while people sprew hateful slurs at him....Trust me President Obama will have you HATERS eating "crow",,,Have a blessed weekend...

    September 24, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Uncle Sam

    He will get on TV next week (primetime) and remind us that he inherited problems so much worse than he was original told. There are 3.3 million fewer U.S. jobs than there were in January 2009. The U.S. economy has lost jobs in 13 of the 20 months he has been office In early August of last year, the President declared that, thanks in part to his policies, the U.S. economy was “pointed in the right direction.” We have lost jobs in six of the 12 months since then, for a net decline of 52,000 jobs. 9.4% unemployment rate when he made this statement climbed to 10.1% and has since declined to 9.5%, still higher than it was last August. The President signed into law an $862 billion stimulus law and two health laws that will create$788 billion of new entitlements over the next decade. Combine these with countless other smaller spending bills, , and the U.S. government is $2.5 trillion more in debt than on the day this President took office. That’s $8,000 more debt for every American man, woman, and child.

    September 24, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Catie

    We pray for him and his family every single day. I tell my kids he has his own view on what this country should be but he really isnt listening to the people. His arrogance, which is a good thing to deal with other countries, gets in the way. Sometimes a president will not agree with the people but he still works for the people. I think he is brilliant and if his numbers stay where they are, he will send out MIchelle as a Presidential candidate in 2012. Just a hunch (even though I think Hillary Clinton deserves and has earned the right to be the first female president )

    September 24, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |

    POLL ME CNN. In fact Poll people within a hundred mile radius of me because I know for a fact that you haven't. Obama won his election in a HUMONGOUS LANDSLIDE with all odds against him. Hilary was an automatic shoe in before anyone even heard of Obama. The man is right for this moment in time. Every great leader had to deal with tremendous opposition. Look at the choices Lincoln had to make against violent South. Same shyt new day. Obama / Dems 2010-2012.

    September 24, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Living in America

    Who are doing the polls? The minute he was born the polls was against him. Let's see the polls went like this.

    Percentage of failure in lfe because his come from a single mom-100%
    Percentage of failure in life because he is black-100%
    Percentage of failure of life because he was poor-100%

    Look want he has accomplished in spite of the odds stacked against him since birth. Who is doing the polling because no one has me nor my friends.

    September 24, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Jefferey Richardson

    I can't wait for capitalism to fail, so we can become completely socialist. Go Obama Go. We are so close don't give up now and quit looking at polls! You've come closer than anyone to doing it, republicans can stand in the way but they can't stop it.

    September 24, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Florida Joe

    Obama is doing a GREAT job despite the Repub party of NO. These polls (whoever they poll I'm not sure) are useless.....Let's look at a little history,,,,Ronald Regan had miserable poll numbers at the halfway point of his term..........Bill Clinton had miserable poll numbers at the halfway point of his term........I think both did OK in their re-election campaign.......
    Folks need to wake up stop listening to all these so called polls and actually listen to what the Repubs would do if they got back into power.............George Bush had miserable job creation numbers, wasted a budget surplus on his rich friends and DID NOT FUND the tax cuts just borrowed $$$$, did not fund Medicare Part D just borrowed $$$$, did not put 2 wars on the budget just ran up the deficit..........I wonder why Obama is having trouble turning it around.....Repubs say how they are for small business in their Pledge for America....Yet HOW MANY Repubs voted to help Small Business yesterday....As a Small Business Owner (a real small business not one of the huge ones the Repubs call Small business) I want NO PART of going back to the Repub agenda...........

    September 24, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Rooster

    Approval at 42%?!

    Did it go UP 20%?!

    September 24, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. FatSean

    Obama is performing as expected. He's a centrist, not very liberal, and he enables the Military Industrial Complex.

    He's facing the opposition I expected he would given the tenor of the 2008 campaign.

    I'm still quite glad I voted for him instead of John McCain and his "economy is fundamentally sound" nonsense.

    September 24, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Right Leaning Independent

    It is amazing that so many folks give credit to Fox News for Obama's sinking ratings!! You liberals have CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, Oprah, The View, The Today Show and Good Morning America backing Obama and yet you believe that Fox News has influenced the population to the point that Obama and Dems are sinking faster than the Titanic?? I guess the kool aid has not worn off on some of you yet....

    September 24, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Chris

    At this point, the most important term for Obama to learn is "triangulate." The single reason both Reagan and Clinton were re-elected is because they learned to creep out from under their ideological rock, and govern far more towards the center. If mainstream America sees a president who governs from the center, unlike what we have seen thus far of Obama, or what we saw from "W' about 80% of the time, the Independent vote will almost surely follow.

    The only warning I would give Obama, however, is that unlike both Reagan and Clinton during their first two years in office, the amount of anger that Obama has stirred up (on all sides) is far greater then that of a pre-'82 Ronald Reagan, and a pre-'94 Bill Clinton. A good deal of the Independent votes Obama has lost, to this point, will NEVER come back to him. Despite the sins we saw from 1981 through the end of 1982, along with those we saw from 1993 through the end of 1994, a vast majority of those sins were forgiveable. Sadly, in the eyes of many centrists, the sins of the Obama administration are a bit graver in their substance, and as a result are FAR harder to forgive.

    September 24, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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