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. Don

    A great guy, very well educated, a clear and creative thinker that most people like but disagree with his policies. Now that's truly a dichotomy. I believe him to be a very good President so is it the people who are wrong and being led to their viewpoints by the radicals in the country? Is it the Palins & Roves & Becks & Republicans etc? If that is true....this country is going to hell in a ....you know the rest.

    if two thirds dislike his policies....do they really understand his policies? Are the Republicans that far right that they've closed shop as participants for the good of the people? Sadly I think so. The President will never recover from this position because all those mentioned above will not one day become participants and contributors.....nope....this freedom of speech we all fight for has allowed the political radicals, the TV & radio radicals and the religious radicals to hold people hostage to beliefs that are just not what the president represents.

    The world must be surprised at what we have become. I believe we are better than this and must take control of our own thoughts and not be influenced by those making millions spouting their illogical ideas for the reason of being elected to power. It's really all about the power.....just look at what candidates are spending to be elected....now that's obscene.

    October 12, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Teabigots suck

    OBAMA ROCKS! Repubs are the party of Hate, Hypocracy, Secrets, Lies and No. They are stealing from taxpayers by not working and still collecting paychecks. GET TO WORK U IGNORANT DEADBEATS.

    October 12, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Like many immigrants before me, I was not BORN a citizen of this great country, but maybe more importantly, I CHOSE to become a U.S. citizen, late in life I might add. I like millions of other naturalized citizens are proud of this country. We see its' greatness and it's potential to lead the world once again.

    The political discourse as it stands now is not even accurate, or balanced, much less civil. The GOP, generally speaking, is NOT for the average American they are in fact for their interests and that of Big Business. The Democrats have work to do also, but as far as anyone can see, genrally speaking, they are working to pull this country back on track. We took a huge fall, and everyone is trying to act as if we tripped over a crack in the sidewalk. It's going to take more time than maybe this President will have to bring us back. It would be unfair to say however that his efforts have not put us on the road to recovery.


    October 12, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |

    "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. "

    Huge difference. Reagan followed through on a rigorous course of sound fiscal responsibility that led to the greatest economic expansion and prosperity in history. He led us to security and the failure of Soviet communism. Obama, however, is leading us down the path of the greatest (and proven to fail) economic and security policy disasters the world has ever seen. The fact that so many supposedly intelligent people cannot chose wisely between these two polar opposties in min-boggling. The course is starting to turn back to sanity this November!

    October 12, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Chris

    b..b..b..but.. BUSH! That's all this guy has. Bush this, Bush that. Bush didn't control the senate for the last 4 years, the Democrats did. Bush couldn't spend a cent without congressional approval. Bush didn't pass laws through congress, congress did. Good lord, he used to sound like a good speaker, now he just sounds like a schoolgirl who had her pigtails pulled. Grow up! You're embarrassing us.

    October 12, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Sogeking

    Seems more like racial loyalty than anything. Obama is a terrible president with terrible policies. He's been completely ineffective, gone back on nearly every single one of his promises, and is continuing the Bush legacy by shoving Afghanistan down our throats.

    October 12, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. chris

    Non sense.
    No other candidate could have done what he's accomplished.
    He warned the public that it would take time, it'd be a gradual recovery.
    Silly skeptics, over nighters are for kids.

    October 12, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. p.h

    the same trailer park trash will be the first ones asking for obamacare. it's funny how his policies will benefit 98 percent of the people but we have the top 2% trying to make us think otherwise. i still remember bush policies that had us paying over 4 for gas and killing our 401k and not to mention the wars but hey we want it back

    October 12, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Naze

    It is sad you people at there think that the mess president Bush made for the pass eight years, youi guys think it should should have been fix for this pass two years President Obama has been in its going to take more than that idoit. But there is one I could remember when Bush elected, the first thing he did he took all the surplus President left start giving away money to his budys search as tax cut to the rich and the moment I saw him did that, I told myself there's goes the economy go down the drain that's exactly what happen beside that he went to war, which his dad start didn't finish, so he thinks that was an obligation for him to do.

    October 12, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    President Obama has been personally attacked on all fronts, even being called a Muslim. Has anyone ever thought that he may be Jewish.

    October 12, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Just the truth

    Obama is doing a FANTASTIC job despite the roadblocks created by an embarrassed and ignorant republican party and an anarchistic and racist teaparty. They are doing anything and everything to prevent this country from getting better until they get back in control. Their ideology was tried for EIGHT YEARS unchecked. It failed miserably. Putting corrupt hypocrites back in power is ignorance at it's finest.

    October 12, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. xstongue

    Sad thing their the only ones left voting for him, its okay though, the slower the process the better. The sick will win in the end, its just a matter of time. Ask how many rich people know how to cook for themselves? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    October 12, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Stop the lies

    Who in their right mind thinks that keeping campaign donors a secret is a good idea? Come on repubs, really? REALLY?? Selling off our election process to racists and foreign countries in secrecy is UN-AMERICAN. Hypocrites.

    October 12, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. William

    Obama has been a total failure regardless of what personality he has he is a proven liar, and a want to be dictator and the worst president in American history. Most would say they like him weather they did or did not because any one who would say they did not like him would be called a racist.

    October 12, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Andrew Messenger

    Popularity is scary. The age of technology has succeeded in dumbing down Americans. As the younger generation grows up into the next voting class, they consider the left (or liberal) agenda something that is COOL. Only cool people vote for a liberal president because it is the IN thing to do. The whole world is going GREEN so we have to be COOL like the rest of the world. Only old people and rich people vote for traditional values! Obama ran and won on popularity, but his performance on the job has been receiving bad marks from world leaders, to congress, to the average voter. It is clearly obvious that popularity – glimmer and lights and polished speeches – do NOT necessarily mean someone can run the country.

    Highly productive presidents of days gone by figured out a way to unite the divided, to bring the country together, to sell his vision to not just half of congress but all of congress. Highly productive presidents knew how to put aside the polarizing agenda items and focus on the mainstream items that needed to be addressed such that the country could continue moving forward in a productive, economic manner.

    One thing that scares me is that we have to endure two more years of this man being our president. I hope and pray our country doesn't default, or completely crumble, dissipate, and fall apart before that day comes.

    October 12, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Bob in PA

    Absolutely, I'd sit down and have a burger and a beer with the guy. As far as running a FREE society goes, he is clueless.

    October 12, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. suzanne

    I'M happy with our President AND his policies!

    October 12, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Dave

    To all the people here that keep trashing corporations ...

    Corporations are the only entity in the world that can create sustainable job growth. Corporations in the United States have given us the highest standard of living in the world. Corporations have been the economic and industrial engine that has defeated the nazi's, and provided aid throughout the world whenever it is needed. No, this aid does not come directly from the government, they just pass it on from corporations. US corporations have led the fight against aids, cancer, and countless other diseases. It is unbelievable to me that so many people have bought off on the Obama administrations idea of constantly demonizing corporations. There would be no government at all were it not for corporations. If we put everything in the hands of the government every aspect of our lives will be run with the efficiency and problems of the US post office, Amtrak, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and basically everything else that the Federal government has ever touched. If you want failed European style socialism please feel free to move to the failed European country of your choice.

    October 12, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Dt

    Lol, i see the right wing nut jobs are out. HOW ARE THOSE GWB TAX CUTS WORKING OUT FOR YA, LOL. Opps my bad they didnt. WHERE is GWB these days? i see clinton and obama on the grind, but why not GWB? And about the racist sh!t if the shoe fit where it. See ya that polls.

    October 12, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. HindSight2020

    Obama as a person is a likable guy with an incredible story. That's it though. Why are people so dumb that they want to give Republicans another shot? On the same hand why would anyone want to keep the same spiral downwards with failed liberal policies? If a viable third party arose from all this madness then you'd quickly see Americans electing third party candidates

    October 12, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. HindSight2020

    Why were both stimulus packages aimed at helping rich people who screwed everything up? Why didn't the PEOPLE who elected Obama and Bush (Repubs+Dems) see any stimulus? The answer is simple. The more people who rely on government the more power our government has over us. Any of you partisan sheep that can prove me wrong with solid facts please do so. Quit being parrots to the talking heads on TV.

    October 12, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Alistair

    I love the President and he's doing a good job while these wingnuts are doing a good job tearing up this nation just like how they did while Bush was President.

    October 12, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. TMV31

    I will be voting for Democrats in November as well as PRESIDENT OBAMA in 2012!!!!

    October 12, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. HindSight2020

    Obama gave himself the high expectations. Not anyone else.

    October 12, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. What is the country coming to

    I Love our President, he has done more in 2 years that a REP has done in 8 years. All of you know this. He works hard for the people and a great leader. In order to be a great leader you have to care about the people, he cares. No matter what you right wings fools think......he is one of the greatest. He seeks to encourage all . Speak wisely, not impulsively. Un like the GOP istead of looking for someone to blame look for something to fix, and then get busy fixing it. The party of no is nothing but ass holes. Remember this if you like the President there is something about him that is real. YOU ALL KNOW THIS.....when you go vote don't vote because of all the dirty press that was out there on our President vote for what that will benefit you and our country and remenber this the GOP is for BIG BUSINESS.....so put your thinker cap on.

    October 12, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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