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. NewMalthus

    Perhaps the media should try telling the truth about Cuomo and the housing bubble. See who really screwed everyone, in their own words. SEARCH:

    "Starring Bill Clinton's HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo And Barack"

    October 12, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. edmundburkeson

    Are there any other options? I'm looking for some common ground here. I don't agree with his policies and I don't like him. I think he missed his calling as spokesmodel for Oscar Meyer Wieners.

    October 12, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Looking at one side of the aisle is not productive

    Katie: Only looking at who is funding Republican campaigns but not looking at who is funding Democrat campaigns? I'm sorry but you are part of the problem, and you're in no position to tell other people to "vote wisely" until you wise up and see the problems on BOTH sides of the aisle, not just one side.

    October 12, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. jo

    I think if we spend more time trying to unite this country instead of wasting time hiting at each other much good could be accomplished in this great nation. A nation divided will fall.

    October 12, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Me

    Your Polls mean NOTHING
    INCLUDING, The polls that make me feel good AND THE POLLS THAT MAKE ME FEEL BAD
    have no weight meaning or validity.
    I have never been polled, HAVE YOU?
    Do you know ANYBODY that has EVER participated in one of these polls?
    Have you ever heard of Frank Luntz?
    Polls only give people false hope and fake despair.

    The ONLY poll that matters is the one we all participate in
    And that's in NOVEMEBER

    October 12, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. King Kong

    Lets be real the only people that don't like our Pres. is the big Corperations....They want all the powers to do what they want to do as in Preying on the middle class workers. It's all about greed and selfishness....These Right wing NutJobs don't give a rats A$$ about the American Prople Interest, just their own agendar......look at what Sarah Palin is doing..everywhere she goes she promoting her book and her personal agendar and she raising money for her own personal bank account....and dumb a$$'s keep donating to her piggy bank that getting fatter each day and some don't even have food on their table....and she would move America in the right direction...give me a break...greed!!!

    October 12, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom(real one)

    Of course, Americans LIKE President Obama........ 54%...... of Americans voted for President Obama! And BTW, ONLY ........ 28%..... of Americans approve or support the Koch-Tea-Party! (source Gallup poll)

    There was a poll out about 2 weeks ago (look it up) from the Public Religion Research Institute that found that "55% of Independent voters and 79% of Democrats will support candidates that voted FOR Healthcare Reform"! That goes against what the GOP-Koch-TeaPartiers have been campaign on!

    In addition, GOP-KOch-TeaPartiers need to do a little research! Bush & Co., GREW the government more than at any other time in U.S. history!

    Here are some of the reasons this Independent voter wont vote for the Republicans:

    1. Koch brothers Tea Party, these people who are "angry" are being manipulated by the Koch brothers.
    2. Bush Wars, cost to the U.S. ........ $3 Trillion!
    3. Republicans deregulated and took away regulations placed by Congress during the Great Depression to prevent another Economic meltdown!
    4. Republicans voted AGAINST a bill last week, that will penalize U.S. Companies who ship U.S. JOBS overseas!
    5. Tea Partiers blame Obama for Government growth, but actually ........ the Republicans GREW the government more than at any other time in U.S. History.
    6. Republicans are against helping the least fortunate.
    7. Republicans are not pro-life! They are warmongers!
    8. The Bush Tax Cuts have HURT the U.S. Economy: "Bush lowered tax rates in '01 & '03. By removing money from the economy through borrowing which is as economically damaging to the economy as taxation." ("Blame the Republicans for Big Government" by Sheldon Rishman)

    I could make a list of a 1000 reasons of why I will not vote for the Republicans! The Republicans are just simply........ WRONG for America!

    October 12, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. If you read it in an email it is probably not true.

    It is amazing how stupid many Americans have become. Obama has turned things around. We are gaining jobs – not losing jobs. Yes it is slow, but for crying out loud, He hasn't even been in office 2 years yet and we were in a huge hole when he took over. He has had to fight the repubs every step of the way and has had to settle for less because of the repubs and a few blue dogs who were bought off by special interests. Having to settle for less such as not having a public option in the end will seriously hurt everyone. But the party of NO does not care. They only represent the big money and special interest.

    Obama plans look more long term which is what we should be doing. Repubs only look at things to satisfy their short term greed and care nothing about the damage to the middle class, our future competitiveness in the world, or the environment. We should have been off foreign oil a long time ago but we never will be if the repubs are in charge. With the repub plans – nothing will improve. Education will get worse, more and more people will go without healthcare, Medicare and SS benefits will be reduced or eliminated. The top 1% of the country will continue to gain huge wealth by screwing the middle class just like they did throughout all of the Bush years. We should be voting for democrats all the way to give Obama a chance to fix things for the middle class. If the repubs take over then the middle class should bend over and prepared to be screwed but this time even worse than during the bush years.

    I would hate to see where we would be if Obama wasn't in change – most of the middle class would be standing in bread lines right now because that was where we were heading and the repubs would have let it happen (they still want it to happen). Save the middle class and vote Democratic!!!

    October 12, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Dean

    Obama is a con-artist. That's how he's come as far as he has. He and his wife probably sit around (when they're on vacation) and laugh about how they've fooled all the white people into putting them in the White House. 2012 cannot arrive soon enough.

    Vote Republican.

    October 12, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. silvertop

    Enough with whining about the Bush mess. The question is: DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT'S POSITION ON ISSUES THAT MATTER TO YOU?
    The low rating is on his position, his policy. Polls are supposed to help him gauge the public's opinion on issues that are important. Why not let the administration ponder and adjust? why keep defending him?
    Saying that he is the bestest and hardest working president does not alter the public's image of him, with all the golfing and vacationing right at the peak of crisis situations, with little improvements to show.

    October 12, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. dwayne

    obama is a shum and an antichrist.his policies are aimed at weakeningthe states.wat a curse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Unknown

    I would vote for him over Palin anytime

    October 12, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Orlando Patriot

    I have to admit that even though I am a STRONG CONSERVATIVE I agree with this assessment. Obama DOES have an incredible personality and is a shame that his views are so fundamentally wrong both from an economy aspect and as a leader. His ideology is killing this country and economy and he has no leadership capabilities. He should be a "Uniter not a Divider". However, he is fueling "race against race", "rich against poor", "conservative against liberal", and so on. It is a shame that he has the personality that, if used properly and not hold such extreme views, could be very beneficial to the country. However, he is what he is and his incompetence and arrogance overshadows his personality. It's a shame – really a shame...........

    October 12, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Some one who cares.

    The President, is on the right track. Many people who complain about his policies don't understand them. The only thing I see the Repub doing is saying no. Then some of the people who don't understand what this is all about agree with the repubs even if it hurts them in the long run. The repubs have issue no new suggestion and is very much against working America. Why don't we say no to them on election day. That will show them how we feel about the way they handle the volting over the last 2 years.

    October 12, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Truth

    How anybody can like this Marxist is beyond me. The man is a MSM Hollywood creation. One big lying phony.

    October 12, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @Laverne and onlysanetexanleft: I agree wholeheartedly with your posts. I've quite given up on trying to 'reason' with those that post unfounded dribble on this site. We have become a disconnected and instantaneous society. Our kids walk the earth plugged into headsets like zombies, and the adults do not believe that there should be 'uncomfortable' consequences to our selfish actions for the past COUPLE of decades.

    I honestly do not blame Bush for having the bubble of our irresponsibility and short-sightedness blow up during his term in office, although it is quite true that there were regulatory measures that he could've taken to mitigate the repercussions, or at least prevent them from happenning again. I do however fault those that have stood idly by while some in Congress led by our President have had to make the tough and unpopular choices. I have run out of patience with people who are quite willing to reward the No Doers (GObP), and trounce those that are sticking their necks out at great political expense (Obama) in order to set us on firm and solid ground.

    October 12, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Blkman

    Yea........interesting..............I wonder how many in this "poll" are just RACIST? I love President Obama and feel like he is doing a GREAT job because...............................HE actually WORKS.

    October 12, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Whatever

    I think this article is so OVER RATED!!!!!! If you haven't polled all Americans then don't say "Americans like Obama but disagree with him on issues" The poll is as crediable as WMDs!!!!!!!! He has done a FANTASTIC job considering the shape the economy was in on January 20, 2009 (day he took the oath)!!!! Now give him the same courtesy and LOOK at the actual results. Hmmm the recession ended after the stimulus and jobs are not being lost 750K a month. AMAZING that these so called Americans will not give him the courtesy of a full term to FIX the problem as they did without question to Bush II/Bush I and Reagan. My poll says he is doing okay and that most forward thinking Americans agree with him across the board!!!!!

    Silly people tricks are for kids!!!

    October 12, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |

    Obama is a Democrat. Because of Capitalistic wall street and wealthy greed, we need social policies to help better lower and middle class citizens. Obama will always be popular because he stands for what is not your boss at work. If American companies were not so greedy, paying few corporate people tens and even hundreds of millions a year instead of giving good jobs to every day Americans, then we would not need social policies like, SCHOOLS, Healthcare, food stamps, etc. OBAMA ROCKS.

    October 12, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Kenneth Close

    He tells us he has not had enough time yet, we as the public ask how much time do you need-we are almost 2 years in!

    October 12, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Me

    I not only like the President, I approve of the job he's doing. Deporting more illegals in two years than W did in 8, passing health insurance reform, wall street reform, etc. He's ratings would be even higher if the party of no really put the country first.

    October 12, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. CaliforniaBC

    "it means that a sizeable chunk of the "independent" bloc "

    THIS means is that many calling themselves "independent" are that in name only. Many more than likely registered as independent for the empty symbolism of it, so they can just SAY, "I'm an independent." But what I think of an independent I see a person of generally a practical mind who is able to see both sides and who I CANNOT see voting Republican due to the absolute mess they got this country into. We lost MILLIONS of jobs as a result of their incompetence and I have a hard believing REAL independents would give them another chance already especially when they have done absolutely NOTHING to help fix the problems they created.

    October 12, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. JoeP

    Instead of campaigning these politicians including the President should be doing the people's work! Another reason term limits. I just received next year's medical costs from my employer and it goes up again. My premiums are now 9K with larger deductibles and out of network reimbursement of approx. 50%.

    October 12, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. ingrid

    I think Laverne and onlysanetexanleft are totally on the money! I am sick of the ridiculous comments about Obama being a socialist, or is anti-american. Obama has been working to rebuild our country for the last two years. Keep in mind that he prevented (as most economist would agree) a full depression, ended a war in Iraq, gave us a flawed but already helping many health care bill, and has brought us economic growth! Those who are frustrated by the pace of the recovery seem to think he has a magic wand that can correct 8 years of mismanagement during the Republican era, a quagmire of a war in Afghanistan that drains us financially, while dealing meanwhile with the right wing that lies about him and is intent on fostering a deep division in our country

    October 12, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |

    Hey, I LIKED Bozo the Clown, PeeWee Herman and Flo the Insurance girl. Don't think they would make good presidents, though, and certainly wouldn't vote for them!

    October 12, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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