CNN Poll: Obama ranks low among recent incumbents
November 15th, 2011
12:07 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama ranks low among recent incumbents

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's overall approval rating remains in the mid-40s, where it has been since July, and he continues to receive much higher marks for foreign policy than for domestic issues, according to a new national survey out one year before he is up for re-election.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday indicates that 52% of all Americans approve of how the president is handling the situation in Iraq, an indication that Americans tend to favor Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from that country by year's end. Forty-eight percent of those questioned approve of how he is handling the war in Afghanistan. By contrast, only 35% have a positive view of his economic track record, and just 38% approve of how he is handling health care policy.

Full results (pdf)

It all adds up to an overall 46% approval rating for the president, with 52% saying they disapprove of how Obama is handling his job in the White House.

"That's par for the course for Obama, whose overall approval rating has been hovering in the mid 40s in every CNN poll conducted since June," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

In comparison to recent incumbents running for re-election, Obama's 46% approval ranks above only Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford - who both lost their re-election bids - in November of the year before an election. Most incumbents who were re-elected had an approval rating above 50% a year before the election. But George W. Bush, at 50%, and Richard Nixon, at 49%, also won re-election, and Bush's father George H.W. Bush had a 56% approval rating yet lost to Bill Clinton the following year.

"Translation: while the approval rating is an important indicator of a president's strength, it is not a foolproof predictor of election results," Holland said.

See how Obama's number stack up.

The poll indicates that the standard partisan divide over the president remains, with three-quarters of Democrats giving Obama a thumbs up but only 15% of Republicans approving of the job he's doing in office. By a 54%-42% margin, independent voters disapprove of how the president's handling his duties.

Women are divided on how Obama's performing, but men disapprove by a 55%-43% margin. White Americans give Obama a thumbs down by a 61%-36% margin, with non-white Americans give the president a thumbs up by a more than 2-1 margin.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 11-13, with 1,036 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 report.

Also see:

Newspaper editor defends Cain interview

Cain stumbles over Libya

Gloria Cain: I never believed allegations were true

soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Jordan

    Anyone with eyes can see he is an utter failure...

    November 15, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Matt

    And to Debbie, you need to check your facts on Solyndra, this administration did absolutely nothing wrong and the evidence will show that. The DOE program that Solyndra was part of was started under the Bush administration (which is one of the few things I give Bush credit for). Solyndra is a big fat NON story.

    November 15, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. para cleanse

    The media is feeding this frenzy. President Obama is one of the most intelligent presidents of all time. Yet, CNN (claims to be keeping them honest) is nothing more than a propaganda machine. It is unfortunate because many people such as myself knows exactly what stations like CNN and Fox are doing. Why destroy America for one man. Don't you all realize that America will continue to exist long after 2016.

    November 15, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. SconnieGuz

    Where are the jobs Boehner?, jobs, jobs. What a fukin republicans that can't see through your traitorous party are just as much traitors as they are. Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Cain, Romney, Bush, Cheney.....what a sterling cast of integrity and patriotism. TRAITORS

    November 15, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. AL in West Palm Beach

    The Day CNN calls me for a poll....

    I'll post a BREAKING NEWS...

    Hey, does CNN realize the old farts they are calling might not be around come election day... BBM me, MSM me, text me CNN and we will talk.

    November 15, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. A MN

    Bye bye O blame O don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out
    Romney 2012

    November 15, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Pete from St Paul

    So white-mostly republicans-males actually support Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell that the operative politics of the last 3 years is not to try and fix America better, but to do things which makes Obama fail. Great for them if they are rewarded with a victory next November. Bad for America if this becomes the political normal; pull the elected winners down and the voters reward you, and the cycle continues a race to the bottom-less pit.

    November 15, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. LHD

    He's one of the lucky ones. Doesn't matter how low his rating is...he'll win the whitehouse again..just look back how he became a senator of IL then president BO.

    November 15, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Poipounder

    I'm with the 46% that think Obama has done great with what he has to work with. With the other side not being bipartisan and congress having the worst rating in history I can understand why nothing is getting done. I'm one who disagrees with the Tea Party... I will be voting for Obama next election and it will take a new congress to get anything done in Washington.

    November 15, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Socrates

    Obama, you made a lot of people believed that you were different, that you were going to make the changes that the people were expecting for so many years and, at the end you just proved that you are no different from the other presidents. I met many young people who voted for you because they believed in you. You disappointed them big times, now these people do not believe on anybody. I don't want to mention your foreign politics because they are terrible. One example is the Palestinian state. You are in the hands of the Jewish lobby like the rest of the previous presidents. Obama, shame on you.

    November 15, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. GoWithIt

    Finally America is waking up and realizing that Obama was just another figurehead on stage proclaiming "hope" and "change" like everyone else before him to gain votes, but it all boiled down to the same red tape and beaurocracy our government spews. Smoke and mirrors.

    November 15, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. all of america

    The reason that deadbeat obamas ratings are low is the fact that he has done nothing in the countrys best interest.This loser has grown government beyond reason instaed of decreasing the role of big brother in our lives. Everything he has done has prolonged our economic growth with all the regulations and laws like the corrupt bogus obamacare bill that's going to drive price of healthcare up not down.Besides not having a clue how to do this job, this loser goes around the world slaming the American people saying that we have gotten lazy and apologizing to anybody that would listen.All those losers that support deadbeat obama seem to like socialism because that what he is pushing for , european style government and look where they are at now.

    November 15, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. mike proctor

    Come on Debbie you want to be the first black woman outside his marriage to run his hand up you dress,come on now fess up to it, oh you have to have blond hair. If I was a betting man I would bet everything I own that you are not black and I'm willing to bet you shave in the morning. You will be the only one voting for this imbeclie and in reference to accomplishing something MR. OBAMA IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND YOU CAN GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT!!!!

    November 15, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. huxley

    Someone write down the date and time! A GOP candidate not saying the very same thing as all of the other GOP candidates!! Its a miracle!

    November 15, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. SPQR

    Mr. Cain has reached his maximum capacity.

    Quit now or keep fighting a fight that he knows he can't win ?

    November 15, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Lambert D. Talley

    Stop whining and accept your faults! Republicans have their part to play in this economic disaster more than anyone! Mr. Obama Did NOT create the problem, but he is definitely OPENING DOORS to SOLUTIONS! My Repubs need to have a lil talk with JESUS and sit down and SHUT-UP 4 a minute In HIS NAME!!! AMEN!!!

    November 15, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. cony 007

    Read my lips. OBAMA 2012 Landslide!!!!!! All of you hate mongers out there you will need to move to another country. 4 more years 4 more years of OBAMACARE!!!! Love it or leave. I chose to stay and love it. The rest of you guys who hate Obama can just move to New Zealand and live with the HOBBITS!!!

    November 15, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. HR

    Obummer is a fraud and a Socialistic shill for the Muslims – he should have never been elected. $5 TRILLION BORROWED DOLLARS WASTED. Economy is in the toilet and he thinks the dumb people will elect him again – WRONG.

    November 15, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Pat

    Ron Paul 2012!

    November 15, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. one voice

    This is the nail in the coffin bro, take a hike.

    November 15, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. DaveinSC

    Give him till tomorrow. He'll be saying he ment the opposite.

    November 15, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. chris

    and they should stay low. Obama isn't leading this country, he's dividing it. That's what America gets when they elected a campaigner with no experience.

    November 15, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Cassandra Chu

    ... I think people would be happier with Obama and Clinton if they didn't let AIPAC and Israel run our foreign policy. They get a grade "F" for the blind support of the Zionist regime.

    November 15, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. bilk7

    Some people may want to ignore Obama's success in the war on terror and preventing the economy from going into a depression but even these people can't ignore how bad this crop of GOP candidates are. That is why Obama will win a 2nd term......the failure of the GOP to find a credible candidate worthy of voting for.

    November 15, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. A. Goodwin

    As an independent, I'm very upset with the candidates that the GOP has put forth. In fact, its rather embarrassing to watch these debates and know that at one point – I actually had faith in the Republican party.

    But you have to say one thing for the GOP – they definitely do well at smear campaigns. They have made Obama look weak and misguided. Any rational person understands that is not true, but nonetheless – I think poll numbers show how well the GOP has tainted Obama's image. I think a lot of independents (centrist, liberal, moderate) – are afraid to speak up and say – yes, I am voting for Obama simply because it *seems* that its not popular to do so.

    If Huntsman wins the primary nod (not likely) – I will be voting for him. If not – I am most definitely voting for Obama. I'm not that ignorant to vote for a right-wing neocon who believes in trickle-down economics.

    November 15, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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