CNN Poll: Obama approval rating remains steady in mid 40s
August 8th, 2011
03:24 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval rating remains steady in mid 40s

Washington (CNN) - As President Barack Obama stood before cameras Monday afternoon to offer a reassuring assessment of the nation's economy, a new national survey conducted over the weekend indicates that the president's approval rating has held steady.

But according to the CNN/ORC International Poll, only a third of Americans give Obama a thumbs up on how he's handling the country's number one problem - the economy.

Forty-four percent of people questioned in the survey say they approve of the job the president is doing in the White House, virtually identical to the 45 percent Obama got in CNN's last two polls in mid-July and early August.

"That's an indication that the fallout from last week's debt ceiling agreement, Friday night's credit rating downgrade, and last week's stock market downturn have not affected overall views of President Obama so far," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The survey was conducted by ORC International Friday through Sunday, partially before and most after Friday night's downgrading of the country's credit rating by Standard and Poor's.

Not surprisingly, the poll indicates that the economy remains the number-one issue to most Americans, with nearly six in ten saying it is the most important problem facing the country today. And the most important economic issue remains unemployment. The federal deficit does not rank nearly as high, and only 2 percent say the stock market is the top economic problem facing the country.

"That may explain why Obama has made such an effort to turn attention away from the debt ceiling and the market's reaction to the S&P downgrade and concentrate on the job situation. Another reason might be his low marks on economic issues," adds Holland.

Just 37 percent approve of how Obama's handling unemployment. Only one in three approve of how he is handling the economy, down from 41 percent in May. But he still gets high marks on terrorism and an even split on foreign affairs, suggesting that Obama's record as economic steward is balanced by his role as commander-in-chief.

Another finding of note is that criticism of Obama is increasingly coming from the left, not the right.

Sixteen percent of all Americans say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough - more than double the number who felt that way in May. Thirty-six percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has been too liberal.

The poll's release comes as the president called the country's problems "eminently solvable" despite last week's downgrade of its credit rating by Standard & Poor's.

In remarks to reporters that were added to his daily schedule, Obama noted the downgrade from AAA to AA+ announced Friday occurred because "they doubted our political system's ability to act" following the grueling negotiations with congressional leaders that preceded last week's agreement on a debt ceiling increase.

To address the problem, Obama said, the nation needs to tackle its budget deficits over the long term. He will be presenting his ideas for how to proceed in coming weeks as a special congressional committee set up under the debt ceiling agreement begins its work, he said.

The president also said that "no matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a triple-A country."

The CNN poll was conducted by telephone with 1,008 adult Americans questioned. 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: Debt • Deficit • Economy • President Obama
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. RJWTimes Bradford England

    This is not as bad as expected. After a ratings downgrade, Obama should be happy with this poll.

    August 8, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. diridi

    Be strong, Obama. It is not your mess. It is Bush and Reagan's. These are the biggest thugs of this nation's 21st century. True, True, True, This nation emerges stronger than ever before. True. True. True....focus on very needed stuff, like Tax on wealthy, because we need Revenue...I mean "Revenue". Education, Agriculture, Energy-Efficiency, Infrastructure, Health Care for All, Public Transportation, etc,

    August 8, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Steve

    It's tough to be a Republican. Congress' current disapproval rating is eighty-two percent. However, I wonder about what part of their anatomy the other eighteen percent are thinking with.

    August 8, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. sonny chapman

    If America can't come together to tackle its problems with a Prez like this one, we'll never be able to. Bringing people together to find common solutions IS Barrack Obama.

    August 8, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    He will be presenting his ideas for how to proceed in coming weeks as a special congressional committee set up under the debt ceiling agreement begins its work, he said.
    WOW!!!! After nearly THREE YEARS in office he's finally going to actually LEAD on something???!!! Oh yeah, it's re-election time. Time to con the American people once again into thinking he's a "leader" and not a "leader-from-behind". Will we fall for this ruse once again America? Highly unlikely.

    August 8, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. logic in LA

    The only reason stocks are down is because people are selling- nothing happened to make them do so now or in 1929 or even 2008. Pure stupidity once again prevails. and these are the people telling us how to run our country- those with money and those that back the Tea Party

    August 8, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Joe

    Obama is the worst disaster in America since 9/11
    Obama's hidden Adjenda must unvailed and stopped
    Obamacare will be like injecting america with a letal dose of posion People see his incompentence and inexpereience he also surrounds himself with ineptness Polosi, Holder,Reid Geathner and the list goes on

    August 8, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    More polls, isn't that nice?....

    We're holding steady with you Mr. President.
    We're keepiing you, your family and our country in constant prayer.
    Greed and Power are fighting for their very survival. Their minions (Four , Fair, Class Welfare et al ) are giddy with GLEE at what is happenning in our country right now. Salivatiing at the mouth they are overjoyed because all they care about is returning ONE OF THEIR OWN to the helm so that they can finish us off permanently with no hope of bouncing back.
    But I tell you this with certainty he looks out for the least of us will be protected and claim victory over those that are too willing to sell their country off down the river to the highest bidder and for their own aggrandizement and personal profit.
    Obama 2012.

    August 8, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Positive

    There are plenty of people who have REALLY paid attention (not just listen to partisan drivel) and saw how hard the President tried to get the Republicans to join in on a sensible path. All they had to do was take the COMPROMISE of 3T cuts & 1T revenue increases that he and John Boehner worked out and today would be a good day. But, the Tea Party have their pledges to Grover Norquist and now we have, what we have.

    The way government is set up he literally can't fix this by himself and the Republicans policy positions = failure. So, here we are. Thanks Tea Party!

    August 8, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Shirley In California

    I'm going to observe him very carefully up until the 2012 elections. Right now he is STILL the only rational choice but there must be improvement in his [D] leadership style. I am sick and tired of him ALWAYS caving into the TP and their hostage demands. Right now they own him and they know it. I voted for change and I want it.

    August 8, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pardon. That should read "But I tell you this with certainty he who looks out for the least of us will be protected ..."

    August 8, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. independant.for.america

    "Another finding of note is that criticism of Obama is increasingly coming from the left, not the right."
    Finally. If I voted for Obama i'd feel betrayed and lied to. Democrats need to quit playing this childish blame game and take some ownership of whats happening. They have been in power since 2007 and had all 3 houses of government for a couple years and still have 2 out of 3. Obama lost this independants vote.

    August 8, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. TheLastBrainLeft

    Really, CNN? His disapproval rating is at 54%, the highest recorded! Steady!

    Every day, media institutions like CNN make themselves more and more irrelevant with pathetic bias like what we see here.

    August 8, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. robert

    blah, blah, blah , mumble, mumble, mumble.....and stuff. Hope & change we can all beliave in! "I didn't say change would happen right away".....obama.

    August 8, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Kentland Joe

    Another way of looking at this is the while approximately 45% of the American people approve of The President's handling of the budget crisis, 82% of those same people disapprove of Congresses handling of the same. Doesn't that mean that he is doing 2.5 times better than Congress?

    August 8, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. pt

    I thought a presedent was supposed to lead. If he could put out a viable budget himself, or some feasable plan to adress this debt crisis, I'm sure the leftist press would declare him a genius. He could barley get anything done when democrats held both houses of congress. This tells me no matter how well intended you are, there is no substitute for experiance. In the darkest hour of our nations history, in my lifetime, all we can come up with is an inexperianced community organizer. No FDR or Churchill here.

    August 8, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. midleclssfan

    The Best thing US voters could do for this country is reverse the mistakes of the 2010 election and vote a Democratic House, Senate and President in office in 2012. Only then will this country see the positive changes it needs.

    August 8, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. MARTY

    After today there is no question we need a change in presidential leadership. Obama is not cutting it. 2012 cant come soon enough.

    August 8, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. glen

    “The Buck stops here.”-Harry S. Truman

    “Let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration.”
    -Ronald Reagan

    “I take full responsibility for the weather.”-Barack Obama

    August 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Anyone with a working brain knows that President Obama showed leadership by agreeing with the "Gang of Six" proposal to increase revenue by raising taxes on those who can most afford to pay, while making modest cuts to entitlements.

    Anyone with a working brain also knows that the teabaggers are the stinky tail wagging the GOP dog and their actions brought our country to the brink of default and prompted S&P to lower our credit rating for the first time in history.

    Anyone with a working brain further knows that the teabaggers think they can somehow "save" our country by destroying it.

    Anyone with a working brain will vote Democratic in November 2012.

    August 8, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. CA Dream USA

    Looks like the Confederate Tea Party of Financial Terrorist are reaching their goal ,destroy the Obama Presidency at the same time destroying America financially .......they have launched a terrorist attack on the American workers and should be made to pay....

    August 8, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. David in Houston

    I'm not sure I can in good conscience vote for another Republican. Looking back at what they have done since this past election has given me much reason to reflect.

    What was it we ran on in 2010? Oh yeah, jobs...


    And what about our recent crop of candidates?

    I mean seriously...Palin, Bachman, Gingrich, Trump, Brewer, Perry??? The list of crazies keeps going on & on. The worst part is that the moderates are too scared to point out that our dang party is being hijacked! Are they trying to render the party irrelevant?


    Sad to say but I don't even recognize the party of Reagan anymore...

    August 8, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Indy

    Pretty dang good when you consider that Republicans entire focus has been to get Obama out of office, they have done nothing but say no and hold everyone hostage to their demands and bend over for the Tea Party so keeping in the mid forties is actually very good for the President. If Obama actually had some support he would be over 50%.

    August 8, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. los stl

    what are the polls given the repubs in the house on the economey which is what they ran on last election, Jobs, Jobs, and where are the Jobs that they are suppose to be creating?

    August 8, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Mr President get the UE going in the right direction and your re-elected simple math

    August 8, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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