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. Bill

    I Would never vote for him again..the american people are tired of the bull shit going on and not getting any thing done. Bill

    July 22, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. ChinLee3

    Is there any one of these clowns whose approval rating is rising?

    July 22, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. MsMHS

    This president of ours has done nothing for us, the US taxpayer and citizen. He instituted a health plan program that will add billions to the budget, take away millions from seniors. He bailed out the auto industry and tried to take it over and provedhe didn't have the knowledge or know folks with knowledge to run it. He has, however, enjoyed many perks and vacations as the president, all to the expense of us the taxpayers. I won't vote for him. I imagine a day when he is gone from the White House and we have a true leader who knows how to balance our budget and carries a policy that will invoke respect for us around the world.

    July 22, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. JOE

    Who are the American people that usually get invited to participate in these polls? And are real polls actually conducted on the issues or rather made up by the mainstream media to mislead,manipulate and exploit the ignorence, stupidy and complacency of some Americans who don't give a damn about the issues in the first place? So some Americans are disatisfied with the job the president is doing in attempting to reverse eight years of failure by the GOP's previous administration. Well, too bad!

    And what would you like to see the president do better to end gridlock in Washington? And which party is actually creating all the gridlock in Washington and stalling progress? Democrats or Republicans? And if you are disatisfied with the way our economy is rebounding from the economic crisis that the GOP has created, then shouldn't the GOP be receiving the blame for their own screw up? And by the way, where are all the jobs the GOP promised the American people prior to the midterm elections?

    So you're disatisfied with the president's leadership huh?

    Then I guess you're angry over healthcare reform and the fact that 30 million Americans now have access to affordable health insurance. And I guess you're disatissfied that financial reform has reshape the way we do business on Wall Street and establish guidelines to ensure that we don't endure another financial crisis like the one that the GOP is responsible for creating, that is the worst since the Great Depression.

    And I presumed that you're disatisfied that our troops are finally coming home to their love ones from the Afghan and Illegitimate Iraqi war that the GOP is responsible for starting. And I presume you're disatisfied that our image around the world as leader of the free and democratic world has restored itself once more because of the trust and respect that president Obama has instilled in our allies and other world leaders.

    And O' yes, I presumed that you're angry that president Obama had the balls to send our Navy Seals to kill OBL, mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.

    Then if you are disatisfied with president Obama's sound and progressive leadership, then vote GOP in 2012. But rest assure you'd still come out on the loosing end when all is said and done.

    July 22, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Matt

    "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." Yeah okay!!! There are 3 people in the country that are more liberal than President Obama.

    July 22, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. America2012

    What surprises me is his 45 percent approval rating, it really should be in the low 30's.

    July 22, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. JohhnyOh

    i use Obama's approval rating as a measurement of stupidity. If you are not a socialist, on welfare, or getting rich off his policies and still like the job he is doing, you are stupid or totally ignorant. This actually is a good thing. It means if you are aware and smart, you should be able to outperform 45percent of the population!

    July 22, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |

    My liberal brothers and sisters need to get a grip.....People like Sen. Sanders, Olberman, Schultz and Maddow, need to realize that the New Deal, and the Great Society Must be re-tweaked. We don't need to end any of these programs, but an increase in taxes paid into the system, and raising the age to receive the benefits will increase the solvency of the program. The fact is the baby boom generation will begin retiring in the next 10 years. Expenses for these programs will go through the heavens!!! We have to develop a way to pay for these changes..... Lastly, if Obama isn't re-elected, and congress (the House & Senate) is taken over by the GOP, as well as the Presidency, entitlement programs will change dramatically. And the left will be able to do NOTHING about it.
    Wake up liberals!!

    July 22, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Ken

    I keep saying .. if someone in the Democratic Party had the cojones to run against Obama in the primary, I think they would win. He's created such much fodder for a true Democrat to run on and blast him. Putting the numbers above in perspective, 29% of Democrats are already looking for a new candidate for their party. That is more than enough to kick off a run. And once they have another choice, Obamas support within the party should drop fast.

    July 22, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Bob

    Yes, many of us feel let down. We are the people who had his back – the ones who worked hard to get him elected. Listen to us, BO, we are one the correct side of the issues. Wealth disparity is the cause of many of the problems in our society and the only way to counter that is by raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing the minimum wage. If you are not there for us we may not be there for you.

    July 22, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. iHateStupid

    Don't worry America, MSNBC will have a few of their talking heads claim that criticism of Obama is "racist," and soon white-guilt will surge and liberals will be swooning over him all over again.

    July 22, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. its_all_a_game

    Is this a joke? a few days ago, he was at 44%, then I saw 42% .... 45% is step up!

    BTW... the press is equally as culpable in this ridiculous debt ceiling performance... CNN should be calling out these corrupt politicians for playing with our future like it was some kind of game piece that one can move around a board.


    July 22, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. gt

    its the people who dont have jobs that are mad at obama

    July 22, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. here we go again

    Mr. Obama is still well like because considering the state of the economy , his approval is actually suppose to be in the 20's, and last month it was reported he made 60 million in quarterly donations the highest ever in a quarter, I'm sure liberals will come around and support the President for re-election. The Republicans canindates only appeals to old school conservatives /Tea-party and have alienated every-one else, IT IS GOING TO BE HARD TO BEAT OBAMA!

    side note: Republicans canindates dont pledge your allegiance to hardcore conservatives/TP they are going to vote for you anyway, just like Mr. Obama knows if he agrees with some cuts to raise the debt ceiling liberals are still going to support him for re-election. So Republicans start playing to a bigger audience than just the TP folks the US is changing if you have not notice.

    July 22, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. dcflush

    I'd like to make an observation and set the record straight for some of you on the left griping about President Obama.

    On health care reform: Public-option and single-payer was doa. A handful of Senate Dems refused to vote for it. So if he had taken your advice and gone for it, we would have absolutely NOTHING now.

    He extended the tax cuts only because he got a boatload in exchange (Republican­s were holding all these items hostage). He got extended unemployme­nt benefits for almost a year, he got ratificati­on of start ii, he got repeal of dadt and he got health coverage for first-resp­onders. Now again, if he had taken your advice, we would have NONE of that.

    He ended Iraq exactly as he said he would. He took the backseat in Libya and is only offering support, which is remarkable in and of itself and is a first-step to not being the world's police any longer.

    I can't tell if some liberal whiners are truly as unaware of reality as they sound or if they're actually Republican­'s pretending to be Dems just to try to make Obama seem bad.

    July 22, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Clwyd

    Mr. President! Don't give in to these right wing teabuggers that are crazy old thugs and their call for cuts to S. S. and Medicare. I have paid into S. S. all my life and yes! I'm entitled to the full payment of the funds I have put in!

    July 22, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. B

    Obama is a great guy, intelligent, kind, thoughtful, but absolutely no brass and we need a leader that shows a little of that at the required times, like NOW.

    Unfortunately, some people, like the current Republican dominated House do not get it and should be told, like children, the facts of life !

    July 22, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. CDB

    It is funny to hear a liberal media group (CNN) say anything negative about the anointed one. He is not just a liberal, he is a socialist looking to re distribute wealth. The problem with that theory is at some point you run out of money to pass around. Our status as a world leader is being handed over to China. Wait till they start to tighten the screws. We need to get our spending in control. The open check book has to stop. Look at Greece- that will be our destiny if the anointed one has his way. Wake up !!

    July 22, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. s

    romneys a joke. i hope you have more sense to believe romney could do even an iota better

    July 22, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. ColtDefender45

    Bankrupt America? YES WE CAN

    July 22, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Joe

    Funny, when the government checks stop showing up, his approval goes down.

    July 22, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Tony 140

    Oh good. Just what this country needs – to be even farther Left. GOD (oops, sorry there is no God) help us.

    July 22, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. bb

    Not buying it. CNN has had way too many polls that have been completely contracted by other polls within the past few months.

    July 22, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Palin Power

    America is truly a conservative christian nation. Liberalism is an EPIC FAIL and it is also morally and fiscally WRONG! Obozo is set to be a 1 term EPIC FAIL and he will LOSE to Sarah Palin. President Palin will drive Liberalism and Progressivism along with the political left around the world into extinction!

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

    C'mon Libs! If Obama wasn't willing to compromise on things, nothing would ever get accomplished. Not with so many do-nothing, obstructionist teaPublicans in Congress!

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