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. Marty

    Under Obama the rich have gotten richer, the wealthy and corporations kept their tax cuts & loopholes, corporate profit has skyrocketed , not one wallstreet or banker criminal has paid a price for the BUSH depression, and the middle class & poor have gotten poorer, etc...

    July 22, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Discontent citizen

    Screw both the major parties. Neither represent the best interests of the overall public. Americans better wake up and start cleaning house in the next elections or things are going to get alot worse.

    July 22, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. LegendRx

    Did you poll your momma? How can a few people determine the voice of millions? Did you call those same people back to ask them the same question? Ludicrous to say the least. Keep moving, your polls are not relevant. Only design to stir the proverbial pot.

    July 22, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Megan F

    Liberals disapproving of a liberal President...Obama is going to be a one term Prez alright.

    July 22, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. O

    "13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough" and then "Roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president say they feel that way because he's not been liberal enough"
    check your math CNN it's about 1 in 8

    July 22, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. stickman

    Out of the millians of polls conducted.... I have never been polled......ever..... I think they poll the same people over and over and call it a poll......

    July 22, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Bill NY

    The republicans are doing what they set out to do, which is to obstuct the president and make him a one term president at any cost. The people that elected these nuts in the midterms to turn things around for the better(like creating jobs), if they have an IQ of even 60 are starting to realize the blunder of voting in those buffoons.

    July 22, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. cobiahunter

    Buh-bye, Barry.

    July 22, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Joe

    Obama is so far left he's practically a communist, but that STILL not left enough for the radical left. Why don't they just move to Cuba or Venezuela or North Korea and get it over with?

    July 22, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Gale

    I think a lot of it is, people are reaching the conclusion that he has been lying to the public. He is accusing the GOP and tea party for causing the possible stopage of Social Security, Medicare, and Payroll for our Military, when it is he who is threatening these stopages. Yesterday as reported by CNN, we were sending many, many millions of dollars to Somalia for their famine. Excuse me, but where is this money coming from? Keep digging Mr. President, soon you will be in way over your head with lies.

    July 22, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. anus mcmanglerod

    stupid americans. you lot are right idiots. a generation or two from now there the US will be the newest member of the third world.

    July 22, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. bobcat27

    Like how CNN is trying to paint a different picture by including the Dems disapproval is only because he is not liberal enough
    what will CNN say when his approval reaches 25% ? I know if he loses in 2012 it will be George W. Bush`s fault . Face it LIBS O`Bama will bring you down where you all belong the gutter .

    July 22, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    "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."

    Translation: Roughly one in four Americans who disapprove of the president are to the left of Mao Tse-Tung.

    July 22, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Carissa

    I think Obama is going a great job, based on the what he walked into which was a gigantic mess. Funny tho, when Bush was in power, I believe the debt ceiling was raised 7 times?? Without all this hoopla from reublicans. Now, that Obama has to clean up the mess, no one is willing to give him a break. All obama is trying to do is raise taxes or should I say elimate the loop holes for the rich. If you own a private jet, or make 250 grand a year, personally I believe you can afford to pay a bit more in taxes. One thing is perfectly clear me to... I will never own a private jet in my life time!!!!!

    July 22, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Jay Jay

    And it will keep dropping as long as he capitulates to demands ot the Repubs and their position of carrying water for the richest 2%

    July 22, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. lisa Hampton

    I was so proud of Obama when he was elected President in 2008. Speaking as a 42 year old African American woman, If Obama agrees to cut Social Security or Medicare, I will sit out the 2012 elections.

    July 22, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. YOYO

    For once I do not understand what the public wants? Are we assuming things get done just like instant noodles or something? One day the poll says 50% the next day 45%. I think this is just a joke.

    July 22, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Thinking7

    Oh, please stop CNN. We realize you love Obama. Where is the real news – like Obama's real approval rating. 2012 can't come fast enough.

    July 22, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. The Elephant in The Room

    Some liberals feel the President is too accomodating of the GOP and, in particular, the Tea Party interests of the GOP. They question his ability to go for the jugular on behalf of liberal positions. Obama's ability to see, seize on and exploit an opponents weakness, from a negotiations point of view, is suspect.

    It is less questioning his "toughness" but rather questioning his niavity. He needs to demonstrate that he will go to the mat for something rather than compromise on EVERYTHING.

    I support the President and am typically pleasently surprized at how he out-manuevers his opponents. However, until the end, I am rarely confident in his ability.

    July 22, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Jerry

    This poll means nothing and will be irrelevant when America gets a chance to see Prez Obama's insane opponents.

    July 22, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Laverne

    President Obama has made a great effort to try and compromise to get things done. However the Dems and libs fought hard to elect a democratic president and it has been anything but............. I can appreciate what he is trying to do, but if he is not willing to stand up for issues that are important to the democratic party and we end up with republican policies anyway then why would dems work hard to support him and to get him re-elected?? Having said that I still don't blame him for the catastophe that this country is facing, but he has to be strong and bold in these times and that does not mean caving to the repubs on every issue for so called "bipartisan" sake. It's not worth it because the repubs never compromise with him!

    July 22, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. jean2009

    So...are they going to find one Republican they agree with?....No!

    July 22, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. matrix09

    As one who voted for this clown I can tell you I'll never do it again. He has done us more damage than any Republican could have, even when they had control of the Senate, the House, and the Presidency.

    July 22, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Greywolf

    I'm an independent and my issue with Obama is that he's Republican lite.
    If I wanted a Republican in office I would have voted for McCain.
    The only way he's progressive or liberal is in comparison to the Teaparty wackjobs.

    July 22, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Guest

    Another anonymous news story about the right and the left using the "entitlement" word again for programs that have been funded by specific taxation for those who contributed for a specific purpose. How can anyone approve or disapprove of a politician who has spent a lot of time being entertained, vacationing, fund raising, political bickering and in general accomplishing very little for the American people. I would like to see the press anonymous or with actual credit go after the real stories behind the rhetoric. Not just another biased political agenda story, but real unbiased American journalism. Enough of this rewording of provided press releases by yet another political group.

    July 22, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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