CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down
July 22nd, 2011
01:01 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating is down to 45 percent, driven in part by growing dissatisfaction on the left with the president's track record in office, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll also indicates that the Republican "brand" is taking a beating in the minds of Americans.

Read full results (pdf).

The survey's Friday release comes as the Obama administration and top congressional officials continue talks on a potential deal tying roughly $3 trillion in new savings over the next decade to an increase in the nation's debt ceiling. If Congress and the President fail to raise the country's $14.3 trillion limit by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates, a declining dollar and increasingly jittery financial markets, among other problems.

According to the poll, the president's 45 percent approval rating is down three points from June. Fifty-four percent of people questioned disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties, up six points from last month. His 54 percent disapproval rating ties the all-time high in CNN polling that the president initially reached just before last year's midterm elections.

"But drill down into that number and you'll see signs of a stirring discontent on the left," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-eight percent say they disapprove because President Obama has been too liberal, but 13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough - nearly double what it was in May, when the question was last asked, and the first time that number has hit double digits in Obama's presidency."

Looking at that figure another way, roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he's not been liberal enough.

Obama's approval rating among liberals has dropped to 71 percent, the lowest point in his presidency. And the number of Democrats who want the party to renominate Obama next year, now at 77 percent, is relatively robust by historical standards but is also down a bit since June.

"It's likely that this is a reaction to some of Obama's recent actions, including his willingness to discuss major changes in Social Security and Medicare as part of the debt ceiling negotiations," adds Holland.

Some congressional Democrats appeared to be on the verge of open revolt against their own president Thursday night after hearing some of the details in the $3 trillion plan - a package many of them contend does not do nearly enough to ensure wealthier Americans share in the burden of stemming the tide of Washington's red ink.

Those Democrats are desperately trying to protect some of their party's primary legacies - entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, programs forged at the height of the New Deal and Great Society.

On the other side of the negotiating table, the poll indicates that GOP is also not faring all that well. Fifty-five percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, a seven-point increase since March. The Democratic party's favorable rating is not much better, but it has held steady.

And only 37 percent say the policies of the Republican leaders in Congress would move the country in the right direction - a nine-point drop since the start of the year, when the GOP took over control of the House of Representatives.

"Although most Americans say that Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the GOP, even more say that the Republicans need to cooperate more with the president," says Holland.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on July 18-20, with 1,009 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 story.

Filed under: CNN poll • Debt • Deficit • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. John Kerry

    Maybe the rest of America will wake up and finally see the light. Obama is a total mistake

    July 22, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. tonyl

    GOP is on the crossroads to decide which way they will move forward. The extremists have taken over the party. We are a democracy and all legislation works with compromise. The attitude on of "my way or no way" will destroy this nation's future and Republican party. The blame for the destruction of this economy will lie 100% at the feet of the GOP right wing. That is a guarantee. They do not wish any tax increase or removing any tax loopholes for the millionaires but want to cut the medicare and medicaid and all the other social programs for the poor while we are expieriencing the worst poverty in our history while millions of poor families are losing their homes, savings, their livilihood and jobs. The seniors will have to sacrifice their benefits. But the rich should continue with the Bush tax cuts and dirty games and loopholes dodging taxes in the tax codes. Where is the common sense?

    July 22, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Tracy

    Barack Obama is the greatest Republican President ever. Any conservative teabagger who complains about him is nuts. For Repubs, the glass ain't even half empty...Its overflowing...

    July 22, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. WDinDallas

    While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, who's hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man...Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his role as our president.

    The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a 'Post Turtle"..

    Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him, what a 'post turtle' was.

    The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'.

    The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain.

    "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with."

    July 22, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. barnyfife

    Osama Bin Laden was friendlier to America than our idiot-in-chief hussein obumbler.

    July 22, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Mountaineer

    He keeps caving in to the Republicans and acts like he scared of McConnell, Boehner and Cantor! Doesn't stand up for the principles he ran on in 2008.

    July 22, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Lydia N

    At last the Democrats have an intelligent, thoroughly professional, articulate, strong, compassionate leader and all we do is gripe that he is not doing enough.

    In all my years on this earth and through more than a dozen elections, the various crises this presidency has encountered have been monumental. Through wars of his not choosing, through a false economy he inherited, through runaway oil prices, through rampant fraud and unethical behavior in the banking industry and wall street, and the worst job market in decades, I am still amazed he acts with such decorum and respect of his fellow co-workers that don't deserve not even a smidgen in return.

    While I don't agree with everything he has done, I still agree he is our best choice.

    For those who are planning to run against him because they THINK they can do so much better. I double dare you!

    With the GOP in a mind warp that is baffling and many Americans willing to believe anything they receive through anonymous e-mails, it's no wonder we are in such chaos.

    I sympathize for that Florida teacher who has had to make the wrenching decision to leave teaching because she hasn't received a salary increase in 5 years and still earns $38,000 a year! To her representatives in Congress, is this a legacy you feel proud of in Florida by bankrupting education and their educators? I think not!

    I sympathize for the many who have lost their jobs to outsourcing and can't find anything close to what they were making before but then it's ok with the GOP because they don't want them to become lazy and live off the fat of unemployment! Yeah right.

    Or to the ones who lost their homes through foreclosure because mortgage brokers and banks falsified loan applications or looked the other way and didn't bother to ethically advise those applying for mortgages that they wouldn't be able to afford them once the teaser rate expired in 3 or 5 years? The GOP has no problem with this either.

    Or the thousands of students with loans that are in the thousands who can't find a decent job but are now stuck with these loans and will probably have to wait until they are in the 30's to even see the light of day.

    Then of course now we have these stealth taxes that more and more Americans are having to pay on their social security benefits once they earn over a "whopping" $34,000 a year because the threshold was not adjusted for inflation? Mind you folks, this happened during the Reagan years but the GOP is silent about this and they will fight tooth and nail to keep it as it is because they don't want their "job creators" to suffer any loss of their obscene wealth?

    So before we push President Obama under the bus, why don't you actually read about what your legislators have and have not done for you lately and then kvetch. BTW, find your facts on the government's website and you'll find a dirge of information (accurate and true) about those legislators who speak through one side of their mouth but do something or nothing else.

    July 22, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Ed

    He has not done everything right but he is still the best person suited for president. Besides Hillary ofcourse.

    July 22, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Len

    I am a Democrat and I will vote for President Obama. Why you may ask....he was given a terrible hand and he has tried to work with the GOP. The GOP has tried to block everything from Day One in office. Another reason, I have witness the Tea Party and the GOP....know way will I vote for them. So Democratic Liberals ask yourself, do I want to hand over the white house to the GOP and the Tea Party knowing what they have done in many GOP states? Look closely folks.

    July 22, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. edmundburkeson

    Thanks to articles like this one, which encourages leftward pandering, the rating trend will continue.

    July 22, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. deb

    LIBERALS–why didn't you take care of this mess before the 2010 elections when you could?! NOW we are going to HAVE to compromise–it's not a bad thing BUT It's all you've left us with since you DIDN'T DO IT WHEN YOU COULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Odumbo

    When will you libertards understand that you can't spend your way out of a recession?! Why should any of us work since the government will pay for it all??!!

    July 22, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. USA401

    I cant stand Dems and Repubs. We need more Independent candidates who are not tied to some pathetic ideology.

    July 22, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Natalie in MN

    Well, if they think the alternative is better,they need a reality check.

    July 22, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Demiricous

    I didn't vote for the guy I thought he was full of crap. Yes he is a very good public speaker he says exactly what people want to hear. Then he doesn't do squat. But what can you do he came into office with a pile of crap to fix. It's not all his fault even when he did try to do stuff health reform ect the senate shot it down or the justice system over threw it. We as a people really need to stop voting in the same people. They aren't getting the job done but we keep voting them in. Once again though when you have to vote between a moron and a turd your screwed either way. I don't have the answers to fix the problems but they really do need fixed for the people's sake.

    July 22, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. oyvey

    It was High During Election because everyone was talking about change. Little did people know that change ment you will be left with only change in your pocket. No Lair can have a high approval rating unless your Bill Clinton with a good economy. If the economy is good you can lie all you want.

    July 22, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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