CNN Poll: Obama approval rating remains steady in mid 40s
August 8th, 2011
03:24 PM ET
10 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. LegendRx

    Two words . . . Republican Party! Treason. Put them before a firing-quad. Period.

    August 8, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Ashmil

    The President is doing his job. Congress has to do their job. If congress is saying no to everthing the President propose, how can the economy grow or create jobs which ultimately will reduce the unemployment rate. There are job and trade bills still in the house being stall. All congress does is prattle but done nothing to help the economy.

    August 8, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. gt

    that 40% is hard cool aid drinkers ... blacks , union bosses and far left wing zealots...the independent voters are leaving in droves...

    August 8, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. astro24102

    The Dow dropped 200 points during his speech. I think that was a telling vote by the American Public on his ability to bring govt together and really govern for the people. As far as the economy.....Jimmy Carter doesn't hold a candle to Obama.

    Ok, now all liberal thinking people can step in and blame Bush, the tea partiers, Reagan, etc etc etc.

    August 8, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. FubarObama

    Way to spin it CNN..his approval ratings area 0 in my book

    August 8, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Jerry

    That is just part of the problem with our clueless president/administration. He and his lapdogs will not admit their mistakes and truly decide to work across the aisle, as he promised during his campaign of lies. I am guessing that it is that much easier for the Capaigner-In-Chief to continue lying than to admit his snafus and work cooperatively to move our country forward.

    This man definitely talks a good talk. So much so that he is able, time and time again to "pull the wool" over the people of America's eyes.

    What a shame/embarrassment. Wake up America! Remember on 2012.

    August 8, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Be Sane

    Anyone with half a brain knows who is to blame and it isn't President Obama. The republicans/tea partiers will do anything, including destroying our country to make President Obama look bad.

    August 8, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Don

    His approval rates won't remain steady for long. He will go down as one of the worst ever. I'm starting to long for Jimmy Carter.

    August 8, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. w l jones

    Ask the same people every day you get same answer.

    August 8, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Fernando M

    I Don't trust him, and i don't don't trust most media, his policies, no matter how Anderson Cooper spins it, period 500 point down last week, today more than 500 pts, lost of value, please don't make it so obvious on not criticizing Obama, You guys loose viewers.

    August 8, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Joe M.

    The poll was done within a day of the downgrade. Many of the participants may not have even been aware of the downgrade. My expectations is that the approval rating slides next week, reflecting the increased awareness of the downgrade, and the resulting economic repercussions.

    August 8, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    That simply shows that the public is still in denial, about the failure of Obama to take actions that are effective, but NOT costly.

    Obama's speech today, was no more than a reiteration of last week's speech which, frankly, was an announcement of new major spending initiatives. That's how we got into this mess, and more of it.......is going to make it WORSE, not better!

    August 8, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Switters

    Not bad at all – all things considered

    And if the GOP can't come up with a 'real' candidate – Obama's chance for re-election remains good.....

    August 8, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. seriously???

    I understand Americans are dissatisfied with unemployment and the economy, but what I'll never understand is how people blame presidents (yes, Bush included) for things that are totally out of their control. If any president could control the unemployment rate, they'd set the dial at 3% and make minor adjustments to keep it there. But of course they can't. We are at the mercy of a free market. When it's good it's good. When it's bad, it bites. Besides, the president is one third of our government, not a superhero. If you expect one man to solve every woe and have every answer for this complex world, you are an imbecile.

    August 8, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. AZ DEM

    The criticism from the left is necessary but part of me wonders where all these critics were in Nov 2010...those elections meant A LOT and it was clear that the core base that elected Obama in 08 did NOT turnout. Even worse the Indepents voted for divided gov't and we have the GOP take over the house. Obama is having a tough time being a great communicator and frankly it seems like he is giving the GOP wayy too much rope to hang him with. Compromise isn't a dirty word but until he realized the GOP wants nothing to do with him he will continue to have these battles.

    August 8, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. nobama

    Let me get this straight. Obama is supposed to be in charge, but nothing that happens in this country is his fault. It's the Tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan..no, no, It's the Arab spring, no, I mean it's Bush's fault, no it's those damn Republicans.they've been in power in the House for 8 months (Obama has been in power for 2 1/2 years by the way and Dems have controlled the Senate). No it's those nasty Tea Partiers that don't think we should borrow more money ( who cares if it exceeds our GDP). No, it's mean corporations who employ million of workers that aren't hiring more workers. No it's Bush's fault. Did you know he caused the tsunami and nuclear didaster. Man up Mr President, if you have the stones!
    Face it libs, this guy has been in over his head since day 1. He will never say he's sorry, or that he made a mistake. Hell he schedules a White House briefing at 1:00, moves it to 1:30, then makes his grand entrance at 1:50. Someone with this high of a superiority complex lacks the humility to be President of the worlds greatest country.
    Here's hoping he's a one termer.......for the sake us all!

    August 8, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. arale norimaki

    taxpayers-sold down the river again by the crooks in DC–borrowing
    more trillions for earmarks and deals for friends, when the country is
    near bankruptcy. Congratulations TEAGBAGGER you've been had

    August 8, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. bill

    Try another poll tomorrow after the 635 stock market drop. I'm sure it will be a little lower.

    August 8, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. "The first shall be last"......

    Fox has it right.....again, "Democrats & The White House Shoot The Messanger"! People see through the hypocrisy & lack of maturity being shown by Obambi & Dems......how can anyone w/any common sense blame the Tea Party.....they were' not even a party when all this began....matter of a fact, they're not a party now.....basically they are an UN-organized group of LIKE-MINDED Americans.....so just cool it Dems/Obambi.....that boat won't float! We have a panty waist, spineless President who is so Juvinile that every time anything happens that requires takingbresponsibility.....he blames!

    August 8, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    it all about the economy...and only 33% support him....he is toast, history, adios, good bye, sayonara...did I miss anything??

    August 8, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Mike

    Please do not patronize my intelligence. A CNN poll is asking eight people around a table how they think Obama is doing with being the President. Stop already with the KaffeKlatsch mentality and lets get this country back in the game...

    August 8, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Republicans, The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    Say what you want about President Obama, until the Party of No with it's Tea Party Hostage takers came to town and hijacked the Debt Ceiling extension bill, HE had restored much of the 401K wealth that had been lost by the policies of George Bush.

    Under the President's leadership the Dow has gone from a low of about 6,550 to 12,700. Due to the obstructionist, brinksmanship of the Republican politicians in Washington, the stock market is off 12% in about 12 days.

    Some Republican talking head will try to make you forget this self inflicted gun wound. It may very well be that the market will tank through the Presidential election now. Thinking American voters can rest assured that some convenient memories [not unlike those of "A True Centrist" & "Four and the Door" on this blog] will try to revise this history.

    "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago? Well yeah, I was, until the Republican Party suggested America default on it's obligations".

    August 8, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Donald Trump certainly isn't helping in the downgrade. Trump talks about China eating our lunch when Trump himself has been sitting at the table borrowing taxpayers money from banks to support his bankruptcy. I'm sure his next wife won't be Chinese or "made in America".

    August 8, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Anthony

    Forty-four percent of all Americans approve of the job Obama is doing in the White House. While 54 percent of all Americans disapprove of Obama, 16 percent of all Americans says that it is because he has not been liberal enough. So about one-third of people who disapprove of Obama think that he has not been liberal enough. Given these numbers, Republicans are doomed in 2012.

    August 8, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. reflexion

    Overspending = Downgrade

    August 8, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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