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.

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soundoff (492 Responses)
  1. carlos

    the hobbits are out in force today......and their master thinker and traitor rush told them to go negative otherwise no 50 cents/hour paycheck.....hehehehahaha

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Stu in Iowa

    Interesting amount of talk here about how passing this tax cut would be taking money from the rich. The truth is, the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax cuts all feed the deficit. Take them all away I say and get back to balancing the budget. There is no such thing as a job creator or productive class. That is a Republican myth, you are more likely to spot a unicorn.

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. joeamerican1

    Obama is President of he progressives, but not normal americans. Most of America is conservative, not pinko leftists........

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Riptim

    The republicans are letting the tea party destroy them, the American people are finally waking up thanks to the stupidity of the republicans letting the tea party run them. Unless Obama does something stupid its a slam dunk for reelection, and the Republicans will have the moronic tea party idiots to thank. There is talk of losing the house. One can only hope.

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. jim

    Much like Carter, a very decent, intelligent man who is at a loss dealing with a belligerent opposition. The Clown Show that is the GOP can still throw corporate dollars into the propaganda machine, so don't read too much into this.

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Factchecker

    Yeah....right. Do you have a bridge in Brooklyn you're selling too?

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. SenorCoughee

    Really? The GOP shipped jobs out of the country? Jesus, what idiots. No wonder we're circling the toilet. Clinton signed NAFTA, with GOP approval, and out of the country went the jobs, shortly after. Get your Dem and GOP sheep head out of your collective bungholes people.

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The President has been doing his job Congress has not. The President has earned re-election Congressional Republicans have not.
    You can lump a number of Democrats in Congress right in there with Congressional Republicans.
    The President has earned and has my vote in spite of some missteps.
    I stand with my President.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Dave

    The sampling on this was skewed to Democrats. This is designed to convince opponents they have no chance.

    December 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Barry bin Inhalin

    I just heard the sampling percentages – Barry still has a problem no matter how much the liberal, MSMtries to prop his sorry job performance up. 25% were Republicans; 33% were Democrats and 38% were self identified independants.

    Nice try though – the new poll even makes his hair look less gray that it was last week for 60 Minutes.

    December 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "CNN/NBC know how to ask a question to get the results they want and have a habit of over polling Democrats."

    More people self-identify as Dems than GOPers. As a result, a random sample is more likely to have more people in it who self-identify as Dems than as GOPers. Simple math. But who needs logical, rational thought when you can curl your mind into the fetal position and block out all facts contrary to what you want to hear?

    December 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. fedup

    I have been preaching this for three years the time has come AMERICANS has open their eyes. being rich is not a crime but your greed was a killer and we have seen the light.

    Thanks President Obama for you faith in the people at this stressful time of your life.

    December 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel wrote:

    That simply means Americans have become welfare fools.
    When the numbers go the other way it means Americans have been bamboozled again.

    Did you know that the number of people on public assistance, or seeking it, grew dramatically under Reagan? And that the trend continued under Bush-41? The number actually dropped under Clinton, only to resume its' climb under Bush-43. With trends and numbers like that, which party runs a welfare state? You tell me.

    THANK YOU RUDY. These racist pigs have been calling our president "the food stamp president" ever since he was elected. It is about time someone set the record straight. GREAT POST. Thanks for telling the truth.

    December 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Andy

    ill be voting for obama the gop canidates are by far the worst canidates ever...

    December 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Jilli

    I think the rise is due to a couple of factors – Obama's recent stumping for income equality and for the middle class, and secondly, the continuing clown show – the republican primary. Republicans are hurting themselves with their debate over-kill – and seeing how extreme and/or feckless the republican candidates are will not doubt send folks running to Obama's side.

    December 20, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Lukey

    These poll results conflict mightily with many others considered to be reliable, such as Gallup. I suggest that CNN still thinks 50% of the country is registered D's.

    December 20, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Roberta

    CNN Poll????? Of course his percentage is higher...just like they tell us unemployment is at 8% when actually it is around 15% with the people who have stopped looking for work or their unemployment has run out. CNN like BHO report only what people want to hear! ! !

    December 20, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. BH

    Maybe our republican congress and democratic president should stop arguing over what to do. They are all Americans so they should be fixing America

    December 20, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. JDUDE

    They don't tell you out of the 928, how many are democrats and how many are republicans!

    Even FOX polls will tell you that to show you how even, or not, the political weight is distributed!

    December 20, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sure is a lot of GOPer screeching going on ... too funny!

    December 20, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Finally

    Finally, Real America is waking up! False and Opinionated Xtra News (FOX) network is not the news!!!!!!! Really its not! President Obama will not conduct business as usual. Initiating the same failed tactics all over again.... Now you Republicans nobody cares what you do because you're so done it really doesn't matter.....

    December 20, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Jim in Houston

    This is amazingly similar to the percentage of people on welfare. You can't polish this turd.

    December 20, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. Zorrgg

    After reading some of the posts, especially Indy's, I'm reminded of just how stupid some folks are when it comes to the reality of the situation. A robotic drone like Indy, who doesn't have the skills, ability, or drive can just mouth the same dribble heaped out by liberal leaning media, especially the communist news network. Remember comrade, we are all equal, just some of us are more equal than others. When are you going to wake up to what is real?

    December 20, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    By the way, what were the polls saying about him in 2008?
    Polls schmolls.
    Let your vote do your polling.
    Obama 2012.

    December 20, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. CNNisSkewed

    The failure of Obamanism. What ever the left does anymore really doesn't matter. The people understand
    the lying racist party called Democrats have had their way for over four years now and we are worse off than ever. All this spending and gas is $3.50 a gallon and going up, 30%-50% inflation, 7 trillion more
    debt, unemployment 8.6%, three wars, cash for clunkers, cash for caulkers, homebuyer tax credits, never-ending mortgage default assistance, three years of unemployment benefits, government-union bailouts for the states, GM, Fannie, Freddie and last but not least the crown jewel Obamacare. I almost forgot. 47 plus million people on food stamps. Man it can't get any better.

    December 20, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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