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. Dave in Houston

    the dems are going down faster than the racist Dominican mama 4 Obama whould if givin two minutes with her king Obama.
    Tired of your bigoted racist thoughtless remarks. you have no common sense and it will be a pleasure to watch you whine the next two years before mr no Experience gets the boot. wake up!!!!!

    October 12, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Gary Christopherson

    Win Election? Deliver American Dream.

    Want to win the election? Give America a positive, nonpartisan President and Congress that will deliver the American dream.

    What is troubling to America is that the America dream seems lost for the moment. The future of the American dream is endangered. America needs to survive in the days ahead. Even that will not be easy. But if the American dream is truly to be reclaimed, then it is a thriving future we seek and must build.

    Mr. President, you had it about right. But it has been lost for the moment by your Administration and the Congress.

    Launch an unprecedented great endeavor. Call for action to fix what is broken and build a thriving future. Three key elements are jobs (near and long term), energy independence and going green.

    Now is time to return to and deliver on our dream for America. Now is the time to reclaim and recharge the American dream, a truly audacious hope for America.

    Gary Christopherson, ThrivingFuture

    October 12, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. roy horner

    Screw you democrats! I am a true blooded tea party and republican. You will loose this november and the republicans will be in power. We will repeal your health care to make it more profitable and money for our lobbiyist. We will make sure that big bussiness makes the rules and law of our country and no t you common people. Screw you democrats, we republicans will win because we have the money from lobbiyis and we will use racism and hate and paranoia to get the people to our side. And you dems cannot do anything about it!

    October 12, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. evis nash

    Obama. Will be. A winner in the next. Election, we love. Our president all the way. With. Obama

    October 12, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. GoBamaMan

    22 Days... So, the Dems get "thrown out", as you suggest. Now what? The GOP has no plans. The GOP are selling our jobs overseas. The GOP gives tax breaks to the top 2% of the richest, costing the rest of us $700 Billion. The GOP deregulates insurance comanies, Wall Street, BP, and etc. DO YOU REALLY THINK THESE THINGS WILL HELP OUR COUNTRY? "HELL NO, THEY WON'T!!"
    Repugs are liars and traitors to their country, American citizens, and our President.

    October 12, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Howard the Dean

    Worst President ever. End of story. The man is a walking train wreck. His ego is beyond compare.

    October 12, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Timmy

    I think these polls really need some type of qualifier. With Obama getting almost 95% approval among African Americans/blacks I think that his numbers among likely voters will be lower than what you always here. Then again depending on the demographics of the people that are surveyed this might not matter.

    October 12, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Larry

    i think this is america's way of saying we dont want to follow this black man , we'd rather fillow a dumb white one. that seems to be more comfortable for us

    October 12, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. edward

    I am an independent who voted for Mccain only because I thought Obama was too liberal and extreme yet I had hope with his elections he might bring change for the better instead he is pushing a socialist agenda and it is far worse than I ever expected. While socialist and communist countries are becoming more democratic we are losing our freedom.

    October 12, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Bender


    Even my psyco-left neighbor has given up on BO.He had signs all over his yard praising Bo,now there all gone.I even noticed he has removed the bumper stickers he had on both his cars.This guy was a hardcore supporter.I don't rub it in though,he's been through enough in the last 2 years.

    October 12, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. WackoAE

    So the guy is a total incompetent and is spending money left and right (the national debt is now 5X what it was the day he moved into the WH), his wife is pending taxpayer money on vacations .... but people like the guy. What a bunch of idiots.

    October 12, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. john

    the president obama is working hard to transform the united states into a socialist style country. His mantra of SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND is coming true and what people are figuring out is that government is becoming bigger and to pay for it taxes will go up for EVERYONE. So we are turning America into a welfare society with the winners being people that don't work and collect welfare checks each month. HOW IS THAT HOPE AND CHANGE WORKING OUT FOR EVERYONE!

    October 12, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Gary Davis

    president Obama did not spend the last 2 years as president defending his positive progress in repairing the republican Debacle . if he had done so we would not be doing as well as we are doing , and the republicans have lost sight of what is the right thing to do . this election cycle is about wanting the power back . the republicans have said NO to everything and the amount of positive restructuring being done by this administration. so the democrats need to step up and fire back at the liars . and thieves and the wacko Tea party nut jobs .

    I hope this administration will go ahead and spend a little time standing up to the media and the liars ( republicans ) Bohner hasn't done any thing but keep his tan and McConnell has just been sucking air and pushing out toxins, so get up and start defending the party of YES WE CAN

    DEMOCRATS and the middle class , and why isn't Karl Rove in Jail yet ?

    October 12, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. patricia

    This is a country of instant gradification. No one has any patience anymore...so many issues and so little time.

    October 12, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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