CNN Poll: Plurality say Obama's policies will likely fail
December 29th, 2010
09:52 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Plurality say Obama's policies will likely fail

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama enters the new year with a growing number of Americans pessimistic about his policies and a growing number rooting for him to fail, according to a new national poll.

Full poll results [pdf]

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday also indicates that while a majority of the public says Republican control of the House of Representatives is good for the country, only one in four say the GOP will do a better job running things than the Democrats did when they controlled the chamber.

Sixty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say they hope the president's policies will succeed.

"That's a fairly robust number but it's down 10 points since last December," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Twelve months ago a majority of the public said that they thought Obama's policies would succeed; now that number has dropped to 44 percent, with a plurality predicting that his policies will likely fail."

The survey suggests that Obama's ace-in-the-hole remains his personal popularity. CNN poll numbers released last week indicate that 48 percent of all Americans approve of how Obama is handling his job as president, but the new survey puts his approval as a person at 73 percent.

When the new Congress convenes next week, Republicans will gain control of the House. According to the poll, 51 percent say GOP control of the House is good for the country, with 42 percent saying it's bad for the nation.

But only 26 percent say the Republicans will do a better job running the House than the Democrats did, down seven points from early last month, right after the midterm elections. Twenty-two percent say the GOP will do a worse job than the Democrats, with a majority saying there won't be much difference.

Four in ten say they have more confidence in the Republicans in Congress than in the president or the Democrats in Congress. Thirty-five percent say they have the most confidence in Obama and 15 percent feel that way about the Democrats in Congress.

"If history is any guide, the coming year will see a three-way tug-of-war between Obama and both parties in Congress. That's what often happened in 1995 when Bill Clinton was in the White House and Newt Gingrich was Speaker," says Holland. "If that occurs, the poll suggests that a majority of the public would not back any side."

Thanks in part to the tough economic times, an angry electorate, and an energized Republican base, the GOP made a net gain of 63 seats in the House in the midterm elections, the biggest shift in the chamber since 1948. Republicans will hold a 242 to 193 majority in the House when the 112th Congress convenes next week.

Just over half of those questioned say they have an unfavorable opinion of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with 34 percent seeing the California Democrat in a favorable light. Her favorable rating is up eight points from just before the midterm elections, when she was the focus of a fierce Republican attack on the campaign trail.

Thirty-six percent say they see incoming House Speaker John Boehner in a favorable light, with 24 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the Ohio Republican and four in ten unsure. Boehner's favorable rating is up 11 points since just before the midterm elections.

Voters are divided on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with one third holding a favorable opinion of the Nevada Democrat, one third saying they see him in an unfavorable light and one third unsure.

Thirty-two percent say they have a favorable opinion of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with one in four holding an unfavorable view of the Kentucky Republican and 43 percent unsure. Democrats will retain control of the Senate, but with a much smaller majority, as the GOP picked up a net gain of six seats in the chamber in the November elections.

Even though Sen. Jim DeMint played an influential role in the midterms, seven in ten say they are unsure of their opinion of the Republican from South Carolina.

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

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2010 • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Of course some people want Obama to fail – so the GOP can put their non-existent health care plan into play.

    Of course most average people want Obama to fail – so the GOP can prop up the wealthiest 2% of the population by scaring the other 98% into believing that Obama is the boogey-man!

    Of course a certain faction wants Obama to fail – just like Glenn Beck instructs them to say!

    See a pattern here, folks.........................? ? ?

    December 29, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. NY

    Based upon the content of the article, why is this the headline? I guess this is the next "word" campaign AGAINST the President. However, it will backfire.

    December 29, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. megan

    I know that the prez will succeed. As for Mitch and Demint both of them will fail. It"s just a matter of time before god send them back to the dust.

    December 29, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Lolo

    The bottom line is that they want this president to fail no matter the cost. They will run America into the ground first, before they let an African-American have a two term presidency. These people call themselves Christian,but trust me they are the devils in disguises and karma will definitely come back to bite them for their lies. If I were Mr. Obama I would tell them all where to go, but because of his position to the world he has to take all of this nonsense. If he did get angry then they would think of something else to disgrace him. I am so ashamed of the USA.

    December 29, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Sherri W.W.

    IT sure is ironic that folks dont believe the Repubs do that good a job,yet voters put them back in charge of Congress!Pres.Obama is doing just fine~if everybody will let him alone to finish the extremely hard job he was handed! For sure Repubs/TeaP wont help the middle class that needs the help.~And I hear folks say"let them shut down the Govt,I dont care!" Well~they will care when their checks dont come.and nothing gets paid for so all services come to a halt.Not only that ~the Fed.Govt. needs to give the states money right now,to prevent the same thing from happening.In just 1 case,a gentleman I am responsible for,gets Home Health Care~the only way I could take him out of the nursing Hm~and he is fairly young so it can happen anytime,to anybody.~Now,the state is 1/2Million$ behind on payments to his nursing service,so who knows?Sad state for a great country!

    December 29, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    Plurality say Obama's policies will likely fail

    It is clear to the plurality of Americans that Obozo doesn't have a clue when it comes to the economy and is NOT a leader. Should ANY of this be a surprise given his complete lack of experience and his natural tendency to vote "present"? The main street media and their thrill up the leg helped sell this incompetent dolt in 2008 and that mistake will be corrected in 2012.

    December 29, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. DIANA

    Who did the poll – Republican politicians? Don't these idiots realize that if the President fails, we all fail. I hope for our sake, he succeeds. I pray this country isn't as stupid as these polls seem to show we are and vote back the people who brought us to this disaster.

    I thank God Nevada was smart enough to vote Reid back. If it wasn't for him, the lame duck session would be just that. It was him who told the Republicans, ( who then went whining about the fact they have to work before and after Christmas) that they had to stay and get the job done before going on vacation.

    December 29, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. one voice

    The people polled are called on landlines, these polls are A JOKE. LOL

    December 29, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Mace

    There won't really be confidence financially in Obama until he shows credabilty on spending. That is going to have to occur on reduced entitlement spending, a consolidation of governemnt workforce, and a reduction of goverment salaries. It will take all three and until that happens the US will be stuck in mediocrity.

    December 29, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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