CNN Poll: President's approval nearing 50%
December 20th, 2011
12:02 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: President's approval nearing 50%

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating, a crucial indicator of his reelection chances, is on the rise, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll out Tuesday also indicates that the partisan battle over extending the payroll tax cut may be partially responsible for the jump in the president's numbers.

Full results (pdf)

According to the survey, 49% of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing in the White House, up five points from last month, with 48% saying they disapprove, down six points from mid-November. The 49% approval rating is the president's highest since May, when his number hit 54% thanks to a bounce following the killing of Osama bin Laden. Since then, in CNN polling, Obama's approval rating has hovered in the mid-40s.

"President Barack Obama's approval rating appears to be fueled by dramatic gains among middle-income Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The data suggest that the debate over the payroll tax is helping Obama's efforts to portray himself as the defender of the middle class."

Obama's gains have come at the expense of the Republicans in Congress and the GOP in general. By a 50% to 31% margin, people questioned say they have more confidence in the president than in congressional Republicans to handle the major issues facing the country. Obama held a much narrower 44% to 39% margin in March.

And the GOP's overall favorable rating has dropped to six points, to 43%, since June, while the Democrats' positive rating remained steady at 55%.

"The Democrats do particularly well among middle income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale," adds Holland.

Overall, only 16% say they approve of the job Congress is doing, with 83% giving lawmakers from both parties the thumbs down. The Congressional disapproval rating has topped 80% since August in CNN polling.

The survey indicates that Obama remains personally popular, with three-quarters saying they approve of him as a person.

"Overall, it's not a bad position for an incumbent to be in as the calendar turns to an election year, but there are many months to go," says Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, with 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.

Also see:

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Romney blasts Gingrich over judiciary ideas

Perry: Romney and Gingrich backed the 'biggest act of theft in American history'

soundoff (492 Responses)
  1. Richard Jones

    If the voters are still dumb enough to vote for da Kingfish again, then the country deserves to crash. You just can't fix dumc. You have to destroy it.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Pedro

    Average Americans might actually wake up and figure out Republicans don't have their best interests at heart. They're there solely to serve the country's richest 1%.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Juju

    This is a crap poll. They ask who do you trust more Obama or Republicans in congress? As if democrats don't control the senate. They never ask if anyone trusts the democrats in congress....hmmm, I wonder why? Also, I don't see a listing of how many respondents are dem/rep/ind....probably because it something like 60% dem. CNN is such a crap news organization. They should rename themselves TASS. I only checked this poll because Rush was talking about it. I knew it would be totally biased, I was right.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. ADK

    OBAMA is picking up points because he is capable of lying through his teeth convincingly and the MSM just parrots what he and his party blather about.

    The real saboteur of legislative action is Obama, Even with a majority DEM house and Senate he didn't get much more than the dreaded Obama care through. Heck they couldn't even propose and pass a budget.

    On theother hand, over 30 Jobs and economic bills where proposed by the GOP, including more than three National budgets were proposed and SHOT DOWN! NOT EVEN NEGOTIATED by the Democrat Senate and President.

    All we need to to do to defeat Obama is remind everyone of his words (which he did not keep) , the economy (which he made worse) and his SABOTAUGE of THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, which he did Solely as a political football.

    And it will be over...

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Michael Heffernan

    55 % of your respondents view the Democrats favorably, 43 % view Republicans favorably. Way to stack the numbers. A Crap News Network specialty.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Malachi

    Obama is a lying c sucker and so is CNN. Proof of the poll or it didnt happen. I call more MEDIA HYPED BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Big Old Al

    Let see if this is right 50% pay no taxes and live off the Obama government and 50% live what Obama is doing. Funny isn’t it.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Recovering Republican

    Everytime Bachmann rants publicly Obama's numbers go up. Todays GOP are the most retarded and childish bunch of politicians in the history of America.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Mike

    He's been a complete and utter disaster in every sense of the word, clearly the worst president of my 50+ year lifetime. He may well be the tipping point in getting enough "free stuff" into the hands of more than a 50% voting block to create the same socialist democracies in Western Europe. Goodbye capitalism 🙁

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Tyrone

    Hahahahahahaha.......stop already, all this laughing is gonna make me pee in my pants.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. doug

    "this guy has a sincere desire to do good things for his people"

    Well then his people must not be US border agents since Obama gives Mexican drug cartels guns so that they can kill our border agents.

    December 20, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. SecedingfromTexas

    So, you know this is true because all of the right-wing haters are out in full force today. Defending their
    Tea bag partners with nothing but name calling.
    Said it before–you gotta love it Lyle!

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Buster Bloodvessel

    Of course his numbers are up; the country's looking good, the economy's better, and the GOP is retreating in confusion. If gas drops twenty cents, you can just forget the election hand him a second term.

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Tim

    Do you know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Why keep banging your head against a brick wall? If someone basically tells you they want to see you fail at your job and they are not going to seriously listen to anything you have to say, why would you spend the time and energy reaching out to that person?

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Bess

    "A CNN poll..."

    What a joke! Sometimes I make up my own polls and present the findings as facts too. What a joke!

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. SNOOPY

    Well I am sure in the surreal world of CNN,MSNBC,CBS,AP,CNBC,Bloomberg and other left wing organizations that o,bummers numbers are rising,but they forget to tell you they believe in the tooth fairy also.It is called "spin" leftards and nobody is buying it but the uninformed people who support your propaganda.

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Mike

    Correction...... democracies AS NOW EXISTS in.....

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. LastExit

    yeah right...the GOP is worse than the marxist ??? how funny but how lame of CNN...Drudge linked this as headline because he knows its nonsense

    December 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Jaun in El Paso

    This is a CNN poll! Gallop and Ras both have him still down in the lower 40's for Nov-2011 and Dec-2011. You will see lies like this from the liberal media for the next years in an attempt to make Obama look good, but he had nothing to stand on. Everyone I know is worse off then they were two years ago.

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Big Old Al

    Sorry I am can not type should be 50% like what Obama is doing. I wish I was one of them and not working so hard so that 50% can do nothing.

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. macrasta

    Obama/Biden 2012
    Approval ratings will fluctuate depending who the pollers call...

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. scogar

    oh Yea! Another CNN poll of 72% Democrats and 28% Republicans. (It's fairly common practice for CNN to call folks that proclaim that they are conservative in a very liberal district to throw off the poll, wishful thinking by many of course, but whenever the true math is done you find that the polling is in very liberal districts, and the 5% jump is an outlier and by statistics standards should be thrown out anyway). Nice way to Spin CNN. On Obama care, My company provided insurance just added $500 deductibles to nearly all medical procedures and perscriptions, which I can afford, but most of my co-workers cannot, I don't know how this "affordable" heath care plan works, but I can tell you were all starting to feel the pain.

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. BL

    After getting a close look at the garbage bag of GOP losers, he's starting to look a lot better.

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Ted K

    A CNN poll is only marginally more trustworthy than an MSNBC poll these days...sad. Look at Gallup and Rasmussen.....Rasmussen in particular called the 2010 and 2008 elections better than any polling far.

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. jim


    your out of work because your a moron

    December 20, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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