CNN Poll: 56 percent give Obama's lame duck a thumbs up
December 22nd, 2010
09:58 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: 56 percent give Obama's lame duck a thumbs up

Washington (CNN) - When it comes to public opinion, who's the biggest winner of one of the most productive congressional lame duck sessions in years?

Full results (pdf)

According to a new national poll, it looks like President Barack Obama is that winner, and his strategy of cooperating with congressional Republican leaders may be the key to his success.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 56 percent of Americans say they approve of the way Obama's handled the issues that Congress has considered during the lame duck sesssion, with 41 percent saying they disapprove.

According to the poll, only 44 percent of the public approves of how congressional Republicans have handled the issues and that number drops to 42 percent for Republican leaders in Congress, with a majority of Americans saying they disapprove of how both congressional Democrats and Republicans are acting during the session.

The survey's Wednesday release comes just a few hours before the Senate is expected to give final approval to a nuclear weapons reduction treaty with Russia, which would be another legislative victory for the president, and just minutes after Obama signed into law a bill that repeals "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the 1993 measure that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military.

The lame duck session of Congress also approved a compromise between Obama and GOP leaders that included a two year extension of the Bush-era tax cut levels for all Americans and a one year extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. Also accomplished this month was the passage of a food safety bill and a temporary budget extension that funds the federal government for another ten weeks.

"The lame duck session adds more evidence that if Obama is trying to copy former President Bill Clinton's "triangulation" strategy, it's working," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "After the GOP took control of Congress in the 1994 midterms, Clinton successfully played the Democrats and Republicans in Congress off each other, helping Clinton look like a leader while burnishing his centrist credentials. Obama may try to replicate that approach."

The survey suggests that Obama is getting high marks for cooperating with the GOP. Six in ten say that the president has cooperated enough with the Republicans; in February a majority said that he had not done enough. But more than two-thirds of the public says that the GOP has not cooperated enough with Obama, and a growing number blame the GOP for the lack of cooperation in Washington.

"That may explain why the Republican Party's favorable rating is lower than the Democratic Party's figure. Even though the Republicans made a net gain of 63 congressional seats in November's midterm elections and drove the Democrats out of power in the U.S. House, the GOP's favorable rating is only 42 percent, compared to 47 percent for the Democratic party," adds Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 17-19, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: CNN poll • President Obama
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Alistair

    The President is winning with the Tax Cuts, DADT & START.

    December 22, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Matt

    Cooperating? Don't you mean caving in to republican demands?

    December 22, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Cooperating with the republicans is like trusting a bunch of hungry alligators to watch over the flock. I do appreciate the President's efforts, though.

    December 22, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Four and More

    Aside from Sen. McCain, McConnell, and Kyl's disgraceful behaviors with START, DADT & 9/11 Responders, the bipartisan efforts from real leaders have been truly admirable for our country.

    December 22, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. Firedog51

    Wow what could have gotten done had the republicans had actually tried to work with the guy? Keep it up POTUS and keep the horse and Sparrow crowd on the defensive. You know the one that believes trickle down works and whenthe horse takes his dump that their are residual seeds the sparrow can eat and survive on. The republicans continue to dig holes and I say let's give them more shovels.

    December 22, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Sgt, Joe

    Good for Obama; it's about time he gets some well-deserved credit. When the other party has nothing on their agenda but to see that he fails, he fights back even harder. That's leadership.I may not agree with all he's done, but I give him credit for sticking to what he campaigned for. He had to compromise to help us in the middle class and though it sucked for the left wingers, it was the price to pay for our country's recovery process. Obstructionism is a no-win situation for the country.

    December 22, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice......but President Obama is deserving of higher than that 56% approval rating during this Lame Duck session.
    IMO it took anincredible amount of guts, determination, and gumption to set aside one's personal feelings to do what he felt was best for the country as a whole. Picture if you will,, being put in a situation where you have to 'negotiate' with your enemy, fully aware that your opponent was negotiating with bad-faith. Every instinct in you is telling you to send them packing and screw the deal, yet yoou've got people counting on you to see them through.
    The President excercised good-judgement and A LOT of self-restraint in curbing his enthusiasm to kick the GOP to the curb.
    Still, some view that as "spineless", "empty-suit", etc. I view it with a great deal of respect for THE MAN.

    December 22, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "But more than two-thirds of the public says that the GOP has not cooperated enough with Obama, and a growing number blame the GOP for the lack of cooperation in Washington."

    Starting to understand how they prioritized the agenda over the past 2 years yet...and why? The GOP has been handed more rope than it knows what to do with...and they know it...which is why they're still flailing and infuriated.


    $7B for first responder heroes made sick and even terminally ill by the poisons they willingly subjected themselves to in order to help repair the damage done on 9/11? FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT, OBSTRUCT, THROW TEMPER TANTRUMS...PERIOD!!!!

    Go pick out a ceiling fan, GOPers...I'll go get you a chair to stand on.

    December 22, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. FM

    Nothing good comes without sweating for it. Myself and many others witnessed the President the way he was ready to go alone on Tax cut. He fumed, he was frustrated, he was angry of his base but still he stuck on his guns. Anyone could read his feelings. He showed he is really a big fighter and he believes what he stands for. Now things have turned on his way, he deserves a credit.

    December 22, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Charlie from the North

    And that's 56% before the GOP comes to town and reminds us of why they were out of power in Congress for 75 of the past 100 years

    December 22, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. bears74

    Is it too early to declare Obama the greatest U.S. president ever....?!!

    December 22, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Monster Zero

    Give me a break, 56% think Obama's a winner for his lack of leadership maybe, where did they poll, San Francisco? A Lame Duck Congress that has had the lowest approval ratings of any that I can remember passing important legislation that should be done under the incoming Congress after America decided to fire them?

    December 22, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. ken

    Obama is doing a great job and will make the economy better

    December 22, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The President's approval rating is going to skyrocket after the repeal of DADT and everything he's accomplished during his first 2 years in office.

    December 22, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. Rickster

    I would say the big winner are the republicans. The new republicans haven't even taken office yet and they have already forced Obama into doing something that he hadn't done in his entire first two years in office......pass a policy that the American people actually want....keeping the Bush tax cuts in place.

    December 22, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. sam

    Ihope People will come to their senses , and stop blaming obama

    December 22, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. KatR

    Hmmm. Looks to me like the majority of Americans regret their vote for the GOP in the elections. Guess they need another 2 years of GOP leadership to convince them that their governing ideology is bad for America.

    December 22, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He is still getting things done. Granted it isn't always what he wants exactly, but it gets part of it. I like the repeal of DADT and had mixed feelings about the tax package. At least there is movement in the House and Senate. Come January, I am anticipating that the House won't move as well as the Senate on somethings.

    December 22, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Jude/Mackson

    congrulation mr President Obama you did a good job as you move americans forward in a right direction . 100 percent on how you handle everythings in the lameduck session

    December 22, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |