October 12th, 2010
12:14 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans like Obama but disagree with him on issues

Washington (CNN) - Hours before President Barack Obama holds a town hall to try and energize Democratic voters, a new poll indicates that he remains personally popular but a majority of Americans disagree with his positions on issues that matter to them.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Tuesday, 59 percent of the public says Obama has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have, with four in ten disagreeing.

"That may be good news for Obama, but it's not a plus for Democratic candidates in this year's midterm elections," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Without Obama's name on the ballot, the effects of his personal popularity are limited."

The 59 percent who say Obama has the personality and leadership a president should have is down six points from 65 percent in May.

Forty-two percent of people questioned say that they agree with Obama on the issues that matter most to them, down from 48 percent in May, with 55 percent saying they do not agree with the president, up five points from May.

"Nearly two-thirds of independents say they disagree with Obama on important issues. But 55 percent of moderates agree with the President," Holland notes. "What's the difference? Part of it may be due to the changing face of independents in this country. When more than four in ten supporters of the Tea Party call themselves independents, it means that a sizeable chunk of the "independent" bloc is not exactly neutral on Obama or the Democrats."

President Barack Obama will host a webcast townhall Tuesday night, in the latest bid by party leaders to motivate Democrats to vote in the midterm elections. The president will travel a few blocks from the White House to George Washington University, to headline a "Moving America Forward" town hall sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, which says the president will take questions from the audience, as well as through Facebook, Twitter and Skype. This is the third time Obama will headline a DNC event over the past two weeks.

"Obama frequently campaigns before Democratic voters, who presumably like him and his policies, in an effort to boost their turnout. But his efforts may be running up against an "enthusiasm gap" within the party that shows the lingering effects of the 2008 fight for the nomination," adds Holland.

Roughly six in ten Democrats say they wanted Obama to win the nomination two years ago. According to the poll, 37 percent of them are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year.

"But among Democrats who say they supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries, enthusiasm drops to 24 percent. Clinton Democrats are also nearly four times as likely as Obama Democrats to vote for a Republican in this year's congressional elections," says Holland.

That doesn't mean they are very disloyal to the party: Only 15 percent plan to vote GOP, compared to 4 percent of Obama Democrats who say they will vote for a Republican congressional candidate this year.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll was conducted October 5-7, with 1,008 adult Americans, including 938 registered voters and 504 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for likely voters.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

Filed under: CNN Polls • issues • President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. 22 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    Gee... Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with a socialist agenda? Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with limitless and uncontrolled spending on entitlement programs? Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with targeting every business in sight for takeover, taxation, ridicule or extinction? Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with the liar-in-chief?

    Answer: Only clueless, stupid leftists....

    Americans have seen and heard enough of the DemocRAT FAILURES and EXCUSES. They need to be thrown out in a few weeks to save this country.

    October 12, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. S. in California

    I LIKE him and I will be voting FOR him AGAIN. Any more questions CNN?

    October 12, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. Katie

    "CNN Poll: Americans like Obama but disagree with him on issues"

    Right, because the other option – the corporatization of America has served us so well recently. At least with Obama, working class Americans have a fighting chance. With republicans, the wealthy, big business and wall street will continue prevail as they have over the last decade. Just look at who's funding the republican campaigns...who's pouring millions into the republican campaigns. Well, we don't really know who's funding the republican campaigns outside of the broad umbrella of the chamber of commerce. Do you honestly believe if you vote republican and are a working class American that your interests will be served? With money comes obligations – and the influence has never been as stunning as it is now. Over the last 21 months, the gop has stood for big business, wall street and the oil industry over the American people. That won't change, it will only grow worse. Vote wisely.

    October 12, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. PalmReader

    There is an interesting NYTimes article during Reagan's first two years in office which predicted he, Reagan, had all but lost public confidence on both sides of the isle. Reagan's ratings were much lower in many of the same categories being brandied about Obama now. Having said that, whether Obama regains public trust is up to Obama himself and not the political pundits from both sides of the aisle who have spent an inordinate amount of money and time trashing him. Perhaps with a smaller majority (Republican or Democratic ... either way), much of the political backstabbing will stop and Congress might actually get back to the role of governing . . . of which most members have forgotten they are being elected and paid to do.

    October 12, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Best and hardest working President this country has seen in decades!!
    Karl Rove is a walking POS that should've been prosecuted and put UNDER a MUSLIM jaill two years ago at least.

    God Bless our President and the United States of America.

    Obama 2012 all the way baby!

    October 12, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Jacob

    "Gee... Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with a socialist agenda? Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with limitless and uncontrolled spending on entitlement programs? Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with targeting every business in sight for takeover, taxation, ridicule or extinction? Who would have thought that a majority of Americans don't agree with the liar-in-chief? "
    Gee, who would have thought that the American people were this gullible. Consistent with an unfettered and ignorant overuse of the term "socialism". Who would have thought that a portion of the country was dumb enough to consistently vote against their own personal interests in favor of corporations. These are the same folks that "want to take their country back" – problem is, the folks their voting FOR are the ones pulling the rugs out from under them.

    October 12, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Jeff t

    People don't like Obama but they know the minute they say it they're labeled a racist. What's to like? He's a good dad? That's only because black role models are rappers and atheletes. If you're black and successful in business, science or academics you're labled a tom.

    October 12, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Jason Jones

    Let's be honest! Americans like Obama? B.S. !! I have met 5 people that will actually say that out loud!! He is a disgrace for his policies only, I am not attacking him personally because he is a pretty nice guy but nice guys do a lot of damaged when they are misguided!

    October 12, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Peace

    I haven't seen anything the President has done which he didn't campaign for. He sold his ideas to people, they bought them, elected him and he has implemented them. Why should people disagree with him then!

    October 12, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    He has made some huge, ill-advised bets with our nation's wealth against firm opposition and they have turned out to have awful results. The largest thing I agree with him on was when he fired his entire team of Economic Advisors. The question now is can he understand that the direction they put him ( and America ) on is wrong and can he change that direction to more conventional and proven economic fundamentals.

    October 12, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Laverne

    The only fault President Obama has is thinking that the American people really wanted a leader who is hard working on behalf of the people, a leader who wants equal rights and justice for all, a leader who saw the good in this country and wanted good for all, a leader who wants to move this country forward in the face of adversity, a leader who inspite of all the mess from the last administration STILL was willing to want to lead this country out of the ditch. If that is the case, I guess good guys really do finish last!

    October 12, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. onlysanetexanleft

    The President is working hard but the country was left in such a mess by Bush that it takes a long time to see significant improvement, mainly in umemployment. We are a "microwave" society now. No more waiting 45 minutes for a tv dinner to cook in the oven, we want it ready in 2 minutes in the microwave. Some foods are just not microwavable and the economy is one of those foods. It's going to take time but, with the help of the 24/7 news cycle, President Obam has been given unfair expaectations. We were losing 750,000 jobs the day he took over. Should we really expect to be gaining 750,000 jobs per month 20 months into his first term? I think the 59% is somewhat of a better gauge because as long a umemployment stays high, which is will for the near term no matter what policies are inacted, his "isssues" numbers are going to remain sub 50%. Also remember CNN that these numbers are still higher than Reagn and Bush who didn't inherit no where near the mess that President Obama did.

    October 12, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. MAhole

    To 22 Days........

    If you don't like it you can always LEAVE. Tell me – where would we be right now if McInsane and Saracuda had won?? In MUCH worse shape – heck – we'd probably already be taken over by China.

    You sir, are a MORON...........

    October 12, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Boniface

    Well said Jacob to "Mr. 22 days until socialism dies in the USA." What i will add is, you should research and fully comprehend the meaning of the word socialism before using recklessly on a public forum like this as though it was an insult. You really need to do due diligence and understand what you are talking about...i am telling you that in 22 days the US Navy, the post office, the police, the army, the air force, the interstate and highway commission department, the department of education, the social security administration, the FAA, the NIH, etc...will still be here even if they are socialist ideas you claim to kill in 22 days...i bet you benefit from some services provided by these entities. It is one thing to disagree with the policies of the President, but displaying your ignorance on a public forum the way you always do is unforgiving.

    October 12, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Jeff t

    The reason people voted for him was because he said all the right things about changing politics. He was going to make sure everyone got along again, blah, blah blah. Instead he turned out to be worse. He allowed Nancy Pelosi and her band of ultra partisans to craft legislation and perpetuate all the hard feelings. Things have been this way since liberals decided Bush "stole" the election even though the facts have never born it out. Everyone gets their feelings hurt over politics now. Barry was supposed to fix all of this. He didn't. He made it worse.

    October 12, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    "Obama 2012 all the way baby!"

    You're kidding, right? Looks like someone threw in the towel for 2010.

    October 12, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Erik S.

    So he's liked but not respected or Believed, got it.

    October 12, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. "I Want My Country Back" Libs Go Home

    Here is the "Real Issue"; This President has some very significant problems, for one he has an "Idealogical" problem. Secondly he has a "World View" problem. Thirdly he has an obvious "Resentment for American Heritage" problem. Obambi believes this great nation has commited horrible injustices and wrongs which out-weigh the "rights". He wants us to become like other eastern countries. He believes in "taking from the haves and giving to the have nots" which goes against the strong work ethics of this country.
    No one dislikes the man, it is his agenda!

    October 12, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    If you like President Obama, you need to vote Democratic in your local and state elections.

    We need a majority of Democrats to ensure we don't go back to the tried-and-failed policies of the GOP.

    Vote to drive our country forward (D); don't put it in reverse (R).

    Come November 2 = Vote Democratic!

    October 12, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. T'SAH from Virginia


    Yep – and without the far-right EXTREMIST who think they are going to run things after November!!! DON'T COUNT ON IT!

    The POLLS are TWISTED and are now starting to CONTRADICT themselves!!! DEMOCRATS – Don't believe the HYPE the media, pollsters and pundits want you to believe!! We're FIRED UP and we will SOAR AHEAD with enough of a victory in November 2010 to SHUT UP a lot of people!!!

    Keep STATING our CASE and believe it – UNITE the BASE and be proud of it – SHUT UP a lot of people in November 2010 because we will WIN this RACE against the far-RIGHT Extremist!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!!

    October 12, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Marry

    Love your good and thoughtful comments! Jacob, Katie, Peace, Laverne, onlysanetexanleft, and I say with you S. in California
    I LIKE President Obama and I will be voting FOR him AGAIN. Any more questions CNN, GOP, TP?
    Please, go out and vote. But, vote informed, responsible and smart. Don’t be fooled by the GOP/TP – again!

    October 12, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. PalmReader

    I voted for President Obama, and will do so again. A word of caution to Republicans. Each of you have spent the past two years mocking Moderates. You can't possibly think that having done so, we are now more inclinded to vote in your favor? Reagan understood this. Your party leaders, not so much.

    October 12, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Do I wish our economy was getting better faster?

    You bet!

    I also wish that American companies who are sitting on 2 TRILLION in CASH would invest some of that in job creation.

    You see, this is the kind of push-back President Obama has been dealing with ever since he was sworn into office: The Republican don't care how far down the toilet they try to take our country, they are willing to do anything and everything to make our president and our country fail in their efforts to regain control.

    And for what? Republican POLICIES ARE PROVEN FAILURES!

    Yes, the economic recovery is slow. More importantly, I'm an adult who accepts that when things are a mess, they don't get better overnight.

    I emphatically support President Obama and the policies of the Democratic Party.

    I am voting Democratic in November and encouraging everyone I know to do the same.

    October 12, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. js007

    So many on the right just HATE Obama, claiming that it is because he's a socialist. The "socialist" things like bailing out the banks or car makes were A) the right thing to do, B) started by Bush's administration, C) very effective; the government will probably make money on bank bailouts after they sell the shares acquired, and saving the car makers saved millions of jobs.

    I did not hear any of these folks screaming when Bush was massively growing government, all on borrowed money. He started wars, expanded Medicare, and transferred wealth from our children to the rich through tax cuts paid for with Chinese money. This misplaced hatred of Obama has to come from either massive ignorance and brainwashing by outlets like Fox, or is just good ol' racism, or maybe both.

    October 12, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. King

    I am still puzzled i cant see anything that is not better than the monstrosity that obama inherited from bush. Name me one thing he did that huongously better than a couple years past. we are just finding out today that the country was probably in a depression because theyre just finding out that the country was in a way deeper crap than they first thought.

    October 12, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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