CNN Poll: Obama approval up to 55%, but still under 50% on economy
January 24th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval up to 55%, but still under 50% on economy

Washington (CNN) - On the eve of his State of the Union address, Barack Obama's approval rating is at its highest level in more than a year, according to a new national poll.

Full results (pdf)

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that while the president gets high marks on foreign policy and national security issues, a majority of the public disapproves of how he is handling the economy and the federal budget deficit - issues that are likely to dominate Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say they approve of how Obama's handling his duties in the White House, with 44 percent saying they disapprove.

"The 55 percent figure is seven points higher than in December and 13 points higher than his September mark," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The president's approval rating has not been this high since November of 2009 in CNN polling."

Not surprising, Democrats overwhelming approve of the job Obama's doing, with Republicans disapproving. Fifty-four percent of independent voters questioned give a thumbs up to how the president's handling his duties.

"Fifty-three percent of men now have a positive view of Obama's track record, the first time a majority of men have approved of Obama since December of 2009," Holland says. "Obama's approval is now 61 percent in the Midwest - home to key battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin - making that his strongest region of the country. Even among Southerners, Obama's rating is now at 50 percent - something we have seen in our polls in a year."

On issues, the poll indicates that Obama benefits from his status as Commander in Chief. Six in ten approve of how he is handling terrorism; 57 percent like his track record on foreign policy and more than half approve of how he has dealt with the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. But foreign affairs are not likely to take up much time when Obama gives his State of the Union speech.

By contrast, Obama continues to get his worst marks on the federal budget deficit - likely to be a major topic on Tuesday night and a growing flashpoint between him and the Republicans in Congress. Six in ten disapprove of how Obama is handling the deficit; 55 percent don't like his record on health care and 54 percent disapprove of his economic policies. The number who approve of how he has handled the economy, although still below 50 percent, has increased five points since November.

The president gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. According to the poll, congressional approval ratings remain very low, with more than seven in ten saying that they disapprove of how Congress is handling its job.

The survey indicates that Obama seems to have some residual advantage over the GOP leaders in Congress: 52 percent say Obama's policies will move the country in the right direction; only 46 percent feel that way about the Republican leadership. But Democratic congressional leaders fare as poorly, with only 45 percent saying that their policies would move the country in the right direction.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Jan. 21-23, with 1,012 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

Filed under: CNN Polls • President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Uh Oh!!

    wow if it's @ 55% before the state of the union address, expect is to be another 5% higher after the address. and the markets are on the rise!!! uh oh repubs....reelecting obama will be easy come 2012

    January 24, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    A TRILLION dollars down the tubes on pet liberal projects and saving saving level union jobs and unemployment is still the same, much higher than they said it would get. Obama and the Democrats have FAILED MISERABLY. And now all the federal money is drying up and the states are having to cut, which they should have done TWO YEARS AGO.

    All Obama and the Democrats have done is PROLONG THE RECESSION AND UNEMPLOYMENT by interfering with the natural process of loss and recovery. The American people are not stupid and they can't blame it on Bush anymore. THIS IS THEIR DOING.

    January 24, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Get A Grip

    Well, what would expect from a 'CNN poll' Forget it, this man won't make a second term. He's done too much damage and hurt the American people too much to ask for forgiveness. Even my die hard Democrat parents that voted for this empty suit won't make that mistake again. Like they say....'screw me once shame on you, screw me twice shame on me.... and many won't allow themselves to be screwed again. Anyway CNN, thanks for the laugh regarding the polling information.!

    January 24, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    And it keeps rising, and Rising and RISING!!!

    @Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA
    And a "Trillion dollars down the tubes on..." extending the Tax Cuts for the RICH!!!

    ["The American people are not stupid and they can't blame it on Bush anymore. THIS IS THEIR DOING."]

    So I guess this means it's BUSH's fault – If Bush DID NOT start it – we would NOT be in the jam we're in now!!!

    @Get A Grip
    What the...???? ["...this man won't make a second term. He's done too much damage and hurt the American people too much to ask for forgiveness..."]

    I love it when the RIGHT go off the DEEP END and never back it up!!! How did President Obama HURT the American people??

    Where is the Recession?
    How is the Economy?
    Health Care for all!!! (You know, passing Health Care in the first two years was the RIGHT thing to do. As the Economy GROWS – which it is doing – the Health Care Reform will GROW with it – Ask your FELLOW RepubliCAN'Ts who realize the reform was the right thing because NOW, they want FIX – MEND – REPLACE – etc.)
    Jobs are beginning to come back (and it has NOTHING to do with TAX CUTS, which the Repubs will take credit for……….just WATCH and SEE!!)

    The bickering from the RIGHT is really sounding "babyish"!! STOP the Tunnel-Vision and LQQK @ the BIG PICTURE and eventually, the crazy comments will END ( but then again, there are a few….)!!!

    Let's support our current leader, President Obama, as he continues to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD in a Positive direction!!

    January 24, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Obama and the Democrats have FAILED MISERABLY."

    We've had 10 months of economic recovery already. It's admittedly very slow, but economists are expecting it to pick up and start gathering speed over the next year. And yes, they attribute much of it to what Obama and the Dems have done. Inventing the claim that the opposite is true doesn't make it so. Although, rest assured, the next Big Lie from the GOP is well on its way through the GOP spin and noise machine...they've started claiming, and it will reach a fevered pitch soon once the "news" media gets its hands on it and starts broadcasting it non-stop on their behalf, that the economy is recovering solely because they took over the House in November and got an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the ultra-rich...and they didn't even have to enact anything job-oriented other than unsupportably claiming that Obamare is "job killing" and enacting a dead-end attempt to repeal it. Not a single reputable economist out there would or does support such an obscenely nonsensical claim, but their base will, because denial's not a river in Egypt anymore. All they have to do is ramp up the rhetoric and get their zombie hive-mind base to start repeating it ad nauseum as its beamed into their minds by the 24-hour "news" cycle and poof, 40+ percent of the country will think magic pixie dust runs the economy.

    January 24, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans have done so much damage to our country, and voters think President Obama could fix it in 6 months. 18% of Americans agree with the right wingnut baggers that we should repeal health reform, which to a republican is a mandate. In April of 2009, through the stimulus, 95% of Americans got a tax cut which lowered the tax burden to the lowest in 50 years, but the right wingnuts chose to ignore that fact. Republicans have screwed our country, the middle class, our environment, and the American worker by brown nosing big corporations and foreign businesses.

    January 24, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    By saving over 1 million auto related industry jobs, our president did the right thing, and that is beginning to show in consumer confidence. The republicans are still at war with American workers.

    January 24, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Repealing the 21st century is the only answer to the economy that Republicans offer and that will drive us backwards in the deepest economic disaster this country could ever face. Without a middle class in this country we will have what is called aparthied, the rich and the poor because Republicans could care less about the poor.

    January 24, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Sam

    I don't know anyone who respects this man. Who on earth are you polling?

    January 24, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Marko

    It is quite amazing. Jobs outlook is improving. Stock market is going well. Economy in general doing much better. All this done and the repubs have only held the congress for about 3 weeks. Look what they have managed to do in just 3 weeks. They are so amazing. Thanks again independents for not giving the good guys another 2 years to let their great efforts play out to show what is now happening. Thanks. Thanks a bunch. Never vote with your emotions. You can be sure the the backward looking for solutions repubs will try to take credit for this. 3 weeks huh?

    January 24, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. carrotroot

    @Protect & Defend – The President's approval is going up because the economy is steadily coming back, as he says "the buck stops with him".

    January 24, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ... 55% and climbing.

    January 24, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Tea Party Republiklans are IDIOTs

    even you conservative Rasmussen poll have President Barack Obama approval rating up at 52% !

    President obama will be reelected in 2012 by th right thinking American people....Not the tea tards and right-wingnuts whose hate and bigotry have been rejected by the American people !!

    January 24, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Gil

    Keep going up man! You're doing a great job President Obama1 Don't worry about the nuts from the right they are getting close to being National Socialists1

    January 24, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. GCV

    I think that the public are now starting to realize that the "Tea Party" was a scam. The Republican's foolishly let the first thing they do with their new found power be to extend a tax break for the rich and powerful. And they failed to make Palin go away.

    January 24, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Ricky L

    I would expect a CNN poll to give a plus 50% on Health Care.....IF I believed, like Get A Grip, that CNN polls are untrustworthy and leaning in Obama's favor.

    January 24, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. king

    the scope of what we was in before obama took over is unprecident to most living human beings, hes took a caos and turned it into growth, alot of people blamed him for every thing that they preceived as bad and voted his comrads out of office. but history will prove them wrong and name obama of one of the best presidents the U.S ever had if he keeps up the good works.

    January 24, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. truth

    Evil kills itself, and the truth always prevails. despite all the media lies (CNN, Fox), Republican accult followers, and confused people such as GET a Grip, and other looney tunes on this blog who know the truth; but would rather follow lies. Remember foolish people "evil kills itself."

    January 24, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Forrestal

    Get and Grip: CNN would be willing to jeopardize its reputation by going with an accurate of misleading poll for the purpose of propping up the president's popularity. Sure. That makes perfect sense to me

    January 24, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Tim

    When will they stop using the democratic fund-raising calling list to gauge America's opinion. No way anywhere near 55% approve.

    January 24, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Ama

    keep weeping there is more to come...... go Obama you rock, I thought the republican won the election last night.

    January 24, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Your Worst Nightmare

    Well lookie here! The Republicans, Conservatives, Neo-nazis, and the general xenophobic red necks are all running scared!!...LOL. I guess it isn't the first time they underestimated an educated and/or talented African American.

    January 24, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Peace

    No one hates to hear good news. These news are really encouraging. Go Mr. President go! do more and more.. God bless you and our nation.

    January 24, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. John Steel

    I suspect this poll was taken in the CNN newsroom. I don't know anyone who thinks Obummer is doing a good job.

    January 24, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. jen

    Good job Prez – GOBAMA 2012!

    January 24, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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