CNN Poll: So far, Obama gets no bounce from Libya
March 21st, 2011
03:40 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: So far, Obama gets no bounce from Libya

Washington (CNN) - Although public support for a no-fly zone in Libya has grown in the past week, President Barack Obama's overall approval rating has so far remained virtually unchanged, according to a new national poll conducted Friday through Sunday.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Monday indicates that 51 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing in the White House, with 47 percent saying they disapprove. The 51 percent approval rating is virtually unchanged from the 50 percent figure found in a poll conducted on March 11-13.

At the same time, support for the U.S. and other countries to establish a no-fly zone against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is up 14 points in a week, to 70 percent.

In the past, air strikes and other actions have often produced a so-called 'rally effect' that have boosted a president's approval rating in interviews conducted after the military action has been taken.

"The current poll is based on interviews that occurred both before and after the air strikes, so it's possible that the 'rally effect' will only be seen in polls released later this week that were conducted entirely after the military action began," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "On the other hand, President Obama has not taken on the trappings of a commander-in-chief as previous presidents have done when launching military action."

After the bombing began, for example, Obama chose to make taped remarks from a foreign country (the president was in Brazil, as part of an on-going three nation visit to Latin America) rather than a prime-time address from the Oval Office.

"The president's overall approval rating also may not have changed because people who are most likely to support the air strikes are Republicans, who continue to give Obama low marks overall," adds Holland.

The poll indicates the typical partisan divide, with 82 percent of Democrats approving of the job Obama is doing in office, while only 17 percent of Republicans give a thumbs up to how the president's handling his duties. Independent voters are divided.

As with previous presidents, the survey suggests that Obama has a natural advantage on foreign policy compared to domestic issues. Fifty-four percent approve of how the president is handling foreign affairs, and 50 percent approve of his policy in Libya. By contrast, only 36 percent approve of Obama's track record on the deficit, only 39 percent like his economic policy, and 41 percent approve of how he's handling health care.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 18-20, with 1,012 people 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 poll • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Dean

    If air stikes hit the White House, Obama's favorability rating will probably go up.

    March 21, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. Geez!

    What is it with CNN and all the dang polls? Why don't you guys report on some real news instead of just making it up?

    That said, I can see why there's no bounce – despite all the Faux Noise warmongering Americans are starting to see through this bull and are sick of all these endless costly wars waged for causes that have nothing to do with our safety. It would have taken extraordinary courage to resist the drumbeats of war; I'm sorry Pres. Obama doesn't have it.

    March 21, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. carrotroot

    The Libyian No-Fly zone has only be up for what 2-3 days so far, and you are taking a poll on the President's popularity? Come on CNN did you REALLY have to commission a poll for this???

    March 21, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice aren't they....?

    Meanwhile, what a FANTASTIC photo of our President boarding Air Force One!!!
    God bless our President and the United States of America.

    March 21, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. geecee

    So, what are you implying CNN? Obama launched this Libya attack so his numbers in your relentless polling would go up? I don't think so!! He does what he thinks is right and doesn't cater to yours or anyone else's polling. He may lose popularity, and possibly the election, but he will be remembered for doing what is right.

    March 21, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    My personal approval of Obama's job performance had already gone from low when he began to high last week.
    Now, after Libya, it is very high.

    March 21, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. jerry

    obama shouldn't get a bouch from anything domestic or foreign...he is an empty shirt..a snake oil salesman.

    March 21, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    Only twice in my 72-year life have I voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Obama was the second, LBJ the first. All other votes were for Republicans.
    After Libya, I know I was correct in voting for Obama.

    March 21, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Only a republican would do something to get a bounce in the polls. Apparently, President Obama did the right thing with a coalition, even though the extreme left is not happy.

    March 21, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Von purdy

    You guys make me sick! Why do you think you or even us, the American peope, are supposed to know everything that goes on in the planning at The White House? Any President has the right to meet and plan with his advisors on ant strategy, on war or economic issues BEFORE telling the media or people anything! Why do you think you need to know everything? We have to trust our President to do his job without broadcasting his every step on TV. The media is too intrusive! Enough already! In this 24 hour news cycle you guys are concentrating on filling your time slots and ratings to get people all excited. We don't believe all the hype!

    March 21, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. T'sah from Virginia

    It's been what – 48 hours since the beginning of the 'no-fly zone' attack – and CNN is taking a POLL on how President Obama is doing and expected a BUMP in his approval ratings??? OMG!!!

    March 21, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Roger

    And why do you think this is? Perhaps the people are not overly thrilled with his handling of it! Oh did you ever think of that.

    March 21, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. gt

    .... he was in Brazil learning the macaraina....obama sticks his finger in the air then makes a judgement ..after he flips a coin....thats why his poll no drop....noboody knows where or what he will do...

    March 21, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. S. In California - Obama 2012

    That's right CNN we must watch the "different looking" guy real close. Every move he makes must be monitored. Unbelievable. It's still 1811 in some people's minds.

    March 21, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |