CNN Poll: Drop in liberal support pushes Obama approval rating down
July 22nd, 2011
01:01 PM ET
11 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. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    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.
    Even the braindead among us can't deny Obama is an abject failure. Trust me, this rating is heading into the 30's very soon as the unemployment rate and economy enter the Obama Depression.

    July 22, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Bill

    I hope all these liberals will be pleased when he is beaten by a Republican. I am sure that's what they want, right?

    July 22, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Mike Kensington

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    This will take you to another level of money making.

    July 22, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Too many people have been listening to the Democratic Congressional members loudly complain about the President wanting to cut entitlements.

    First, no entitlements have been cut. Second, the complaints form his own party make the President look like the adult in the room who is willing to compromise. The liberal complaints actually give him leverage against conservatives.

    July 22, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. rick

    is that a breaking news? very funny

    July 22, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Big_D

    People are getting tired of Obama being spineless when it comes to calling the GOP out. Clinton would have chastised these GOP morons for putting their ideology above the needs of our country. Clinton didn't doubt his stances like Obama. Obama needs to realize that sometime the president of the USA has to kick domestic butt too.

    July 22, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. ken

    Well here we are near the end of term 1. Virtually every promise broken, virtually every plan failed. America you chose wrong. And he killed Nasa or at least crippled them.

    July 22, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. David D.

    Liberals have realized we elected a center-right Republican and aren't happy about it. The Bush tax cuts were extended, big entitlement cuts are coming (no choice really), and we have record defense spending and a very slow withdrawal timeline, Healthcare was too complicated to understand (Medicare for All is a lot easier), etc.

    July 22, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Big_D

    I don’t approve but I’ll still vote for him. If he grows a spine and smacks down the GOP he may get 70% of the vote. If he knuckles under to the GOP he may not be reelected.

    July 22, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Angela

    Liberals still support the president they would just like him to not to be so NICE!

    July 22, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. RAWoD

    These numbers are truly sad. The career politician needs to become extinct.

    July 22, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. patrick

    Seriously, unless the republicans pull a rabbit out of their hat, Obama is gonna be a 2 term president. Even with a 45% approval rating, the republicans have nothing to offer us but what we dont want.

    July 22, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. sam russell

    is cnn owned by fox news? all of this yellow journalism makes me just want to rely on another source for my news

    all of this obama bashing does not aid in getting usa back on track. when does this end and when does cnn have their staff writers investigate solutions and not just keep us in the dark with obama bashing?

    i am not a republican or a democrat anymore-i am a human being!

    July 22, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. bluedogboy

    Its not like a liberal will go to the polls and vote for a republican. Obama will get their vote regardless.

    July 22, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Dave

    The president has triangulated himself into these numbers. He should stand up for progressive values and stop trying to compromise with Republicans who want to hurt the country.

    July 22, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Rooster Cogburn

    Go figure...

    July 22, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Marjorie Vorgitch

    I voted for you. Do something to help the middle class!

    July 22, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. hoosierGuy

    If the media was not part of Obama's fan club, what would his approval rating be?

    July 22, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Susan

    This is news? What's news is that there is anyone out there at all who still supports this buffoon.

    July 22, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    And as I've already explained...this is precisely why we've seen a huge rise in the prevalence of trolls pretending to be liberals on liberal websites, pushing very very hard and insistently that people should be demoralized and not bother to vote in Nov 2012 of Obama. They come out of the woodwork in comment sections under articles about the debt ceiling battle, etc. For example, yesterday, the 'news' media went all sensational with an anonymous, unsubstantiated, unverifiable statement made by some congressional aide saying there was an agreement and it would be all cuts with no revenue increases. That gets followed by both the WH and even Boehner's office denying there is any such agreement. BUT, the article initiates a flood of people you've never seen before on the website bemoaning that Obama has caved, is a weak negotiator and is going to destroy Medicare and SS "because he's always wanted to" yadda yadda ding dong "how could anyone vote for him again...he's a republican in dems' clothing" etc. Morons at places like DailyKos are falling right into the GOP's trap.

    I'll give you one guess which party that congressional aide belonged to.

    July 22, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. GOP Hate America

    just because liberals are less supportive does not mean they will not vote for him in 2012

    July 22, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Phil in KC

    I count myself among those 1 in 4 who disapprove because the President has not been liberal enough. I see stickers on pickup trucks here locally that ask the question, "How's that change thing working for you?" Of course, these are right-wing Obama-haters, who have a different agenda. My answer, though, is that it has not been working that well because he did not effect the change he promised. He caved to the Republicans too much. Of course, a great deal of that can be laid at the feet of the so-called "Blue Dog Democrats" who did not support their president when they had a super-majority and a golden opportunity to get things done. I'm not sure that they're really Democrats, from where I sit. It's good to see the Republicans experiencing that kind of disarray now.

    July 22, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. GG

    Typical CNN report – The President sucks – but the republicans suck too!

    July 22, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. James

    This doesn't matter. Repubs are stupid enough to canabalize themselves if they don't feel an incumbent is conservative enough, but liberals tend to be smarter. There's also no Tea Party equivalent on the left fielding extreme candidates and holding the Democratic party hostage. So liberals may not think Obama is liberal enough but unlike their conservative counterparts, they will still support and vote for their man when then time comes.

    July 22, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Texas Patriot

    President Obama is one of the best leaders this country has ever seen, yet there is a vendetta by the right to destroy him. And with media puppeteers like Murdoch's Fox, they are actually accomplishing what they set out to do.

    July 22, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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