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. Johnny Ringo

    Unbelievable. The Republican party is always screaming for smaller government. But, if the economy is doing bad, it's the government's fault and responsibility to fix. High jobless rate? Government's fault, and responsibility to fix. Wars aren't going well? Government's fault, and responsibility to fix. Oil filling the Gulf? Government's fault, and responsibility to fix. Virtually anything is wrong with anybody's life? Blame the Government/President. What a bunch of impatient, spoiled hypocrites we all are. The President is working harder than anybody I've ever seen in that job, and for that, he deserves and receives my unwavering support.

    September 24, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. tetter

    hey," S in California" how are the dem's doing for you in California? Pretty soon my tax dollars are going to have to bail out you dumb ass state.

    September 24, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Dean

    A 42% approval rating. 42%, that's about the same percentage of the American people who are getting government handouts.

    September 24, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. ChumBucket

    wow, who would've figured that when you disregard the will of the MAJORITY of the American people, that your poll numbers would go down.....


    September 24, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. ash

    I am surprised the number is that high but it is a CNN poll after all!!!

    September 24, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Dean

    Michael C.

    George Bush is the reason obamas poll points are sinking! Obama is the best president since FDR!

    September 24, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |................................................................................
    Is there nothing bad in the liberal world that is not George Bush's fault?

    September 24, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    HISTORY Lesson: During President Reagan's first term in Office his lowest poll rating was........ 41% In 1983, the U.S. unemployment rate was .....10%...... Reagan was reelected.

    I am not concerned about President Obama's poll numbers, since most people who support Obama do not have land lines. Plus there is a good deal of questions being raised about pollsters and "how" the ask the questions! In my 58 years of life no pollster has polled me nor anyone I know. Kinda makes me wonder about polls?

    In NOvember vote NO for the Party of NO!

    September 24, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. ChumBucket

    Don't worry Mr. President, half of your presidency is over, you've been an absolute disaster for the United States, you will be a one term president, then you can go back to doing whatever it was you were doing, and the grown ups can go back to running the country.

    September 24, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Nita

    Obama is not down on my personal poll. I like what he has done already. Nancy Pelosi is my hero. But I hope that the
    spinless democrats that did not support Obama loose. Who needs those yellow cowards.

    September 24, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    If every accusation that the far right has levied against Obama were to turn out to be true, he'd still be a better president than W or any of the current Republican candidates.

    September 24, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. MIke RI

    I"m a Republican , and in all fairness Obama came into a HUGE mess !. I'm going to give him a little more time. And for us right wingers complaining about Unions, STOP it . My father worked his butt off for 40 years as a Mason, and with his hard work and Union benefits .. we as a family lived a decent and noble life. Stop looking at Unions and instead look to Coporate GREED !!!!,.. Stop being Brainwashed by Glen Beck and open up your own eyes

    September 24, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. truth

    I just watched a clip on CNN talking about Bob Woodward. You know I am sick and tired of CNN down- grading my president. In the Bob Woodward clip , the white people had nothing but good things to say about this white man. Surely as ancient as the man is he has not been perfect all his life. People start paying attention to the negative comments CNN makes toward minorities, especially Blacks. It is unfair and unfounded. It is time that CNN be fair across the board or people need to change the channel. Lets all get together and affect CNN ratings. CNN give President Obama a break. You know, I have already stopped watching CNN news, and the only reason I scan your site is to see what negative peace you have to say about the president. You don't bash Boehner, Palin, McConnell, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'reilly or anyone who deserves. I for one am telling everyone I encounter that CNN is just as wicked as Fox news. Please give the president some respect. Forty-two percent is not that bad considering he is taking licking from every direction. Some white people just can't fantom the idea that we have a black president. Look at it this way. The news media along with authors are getting filty rich off of the president. There are news shows today that never existed before the president. Who ever heard of Candy Crowley, John King, or Rick Sanchez, and a lot of other folks. Leave my president alone.

    September 24, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Irma in North Carolina

    CNN needs to incorporate with Fox News, they are beginning to sound just like them. John King needs to go over to Fox News he has republican written all over and also take his wife with him. Also CNN needs to quit blastin Palin's remarks of hate, lies and deceit all over CNN keep them at Fox News, this is where she belongs. She is the one who started getting the country in an uproar with her hate rallies she held while comparing with John and now no one wont stop her, but I have hope that the good lord will put a stop to her. He came through by not letting her in the white house during the last election. Her and her racist tea party gang need to be brought down on their knees. Cant believe her parents raised her to be like this.

    September 24, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Marc, Va

    Why is it that Democrats only believe the polls when it is in their favors? You have to wonder!!! Even Democrats now don't support Obama. Go back to Chicago...

    September 24, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Quinn in TX

    I am not certain who is being "polled". I support our President and belive that he has been withstanding the attacks of many that wish to see him fail. I don't know how many times I have heard so called fair and balanced journalist call the President "Anti-American". Last time I checked he was the leader of our nation. People need to get a clue and open their eyes and realize that it is going to take the effort of everyone to pull out of this economic condition.

    September 24, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Steve

    I agree with Chris . .NO Republican right now can beat Obama. The only one is Paul Ryan . .and he's not running . He's young, smart, and fresh.

    September 24, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. P.B.

    As a former Obama supporter, I understand why people call him a socialist. The whole first 2 years has been spent on giving handouts to banks, cash for clunkers, healthcare, homebuyers, etc. etc. At the same time, there's nothing being done about jobs. Everyone just stays home and collects their extended unemployment benefits. The whole country is starting to look like a welfare state. If Obama can turn this thing around and start creating jobs inside of creating handouts then he will get my vote in 2 years. But if things are the same and my choices is between Obama and Palin, then I will not vote.

    September 24, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Person of Choler

    Be of good cheer. His approval rating will rise again on the third day.

    September 24, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Tim

    Obama said the Iranian leaders speach was hateful, and then apologized for making him say hateful things.

    September 24, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. SayWhat

    Yes, our expectations of what we expected from the President have not been fulfilled. He promised a bi-partisan approach to solving the many and sever problem's facing America when he came into office. What he got instead was the GOP's response that they would make health care his Waterloo and block any Administrative proposal. America, if you are diappointed now, you should shudder to think how you will feel if you give the reigns of power backto the people who brought you the nightmare of 2000 to 2008.

    September 24, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. LouAz

    A poll of 1,010 telephone contacts is NOT representative of the the mind of 115,000,000 eligible voters.
    Quit making things up CNN.

    September 24, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. glib lib

    Why do I still torture myself reading these pointless articles and insane comments. When is America going to wake up and stop blaming the dems for not fixing the economy fast enough when all they get are obstructions and filibusters at every turn. When is America going to wake up and realize the people they want to put back into power have not only done nothing to remedy our problems, but got us into this mess in the first place. How many times must America get hit in the head before they realize who's hitting them. Wake up America. I'm not a big fan of Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi, but Joe Boehner?! WTF America!

    September 24, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. New York

    President Obama is doing a great job so far based on the issues he’s inherited when he came into office. I’m impressed by his leadership because he’s is willing to do what is right for the future of this country and the world without the concern of being re-elected. He is not in it for the political nonsense but to be a good leader in our time of need. Regardless of what polls say I don’t believe Obama is here for a popularity contest. If he were; he would be playing it safe like the majority of Republicans deliberate inaction to help address issues affecting our country and the world, they treat the privilege to serve this country as a game. Great Job President Obama I am proud to say that we have a good President in this time of need.

    September 24, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Tim

    This is what happens when you elect a bake sale coordinator as your president.

    Not qualified, never was. The media failed to vet him. It's your fault, you are to blame. You have no business talking about what a mess he is now.

    September 24, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. Baby Boomer

    President Obama has managed to start turning the country over the passed 20 months thru more issues than the last 3 or 4 setting Presidents ever had to deal with combined. If the people doing the polling contacted me (which they never do.) I'd tell them that the only people who dis-approve of the job he has done are those who didn't vote for him to begin with and those who had an over inflated vision of him in the first place. Those of us who are Realist knew the man didn't walk on water nor was he the second coming of JC. What neither President Obama or the Realistic people of the US counted on was the hatred that has surfaced in this country. In that regard we were not realistic, we were caught off guard. We made the mistake of thinking people in the US had evolved in the past 50 years far more then they apparently have.

    September 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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