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. JDUDE

    I bet out of the 928 people, 800 were democrats and 128 were republicans.. Funny thing is, most polls will tell you, this one DIDN'T!

    December 20, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. mosttruthful


    December 20, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. cassisanass

    I will have to admit one thing, he has a lot of people fooled to this day. Divide and conquer, buy off votes, use doublespeak, class warfare, fast and furious, Solyndra, hide all his records from public view, Rezco, Ayres, Wright, Alinsky, Marx, and they still can't see through him. Most transparent administration ever. CNN pol only democrats?

    December 20, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. mannycl

    A poll will not tell us much of how the voters actually feell but the will let everybody knows next November. Lately CNN has become a supermarket tabloid with half cooked truths. Soon it will be difficult to says who is who between CNN and NBC.

    December 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. carlos

    Nat Turner

    I can't wait to see how repubs react when Pres Obama wins another term. I'm envisioning mass suicides!

    December 20, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |

    what a cheaper way to get rid of all the republiCONServatives and the rest of the religious goons......

    December 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. paperpushermj

    I Don't Believe your CNN Survey It's that Simple. You're part of the Obama MSM Support Group so when you commission a Political Survey that low and behold shows Obama is moving up I will consider the source.
    CNN has lost the coat of Impartiality for Ever. You are Reaping What You Have Sown

    December 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. boondockdad

    The first step to fraudulently rigging the 2012 election. Unions have been doing it for decades.

    December 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Mark

    If the media tricks America into Obama again we are done

    December 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Albert

    On the rise? The dysfunction and the division of the congress should be eventually the responsible of the President. Just like a CEO should be held accountable for the company's failure. Unlike his campaign slogan in 2008 "Change the Culture of the Washington", his lack of leadership ability and lack of compromise skills bring the worst culture to the Washington. Instead of trying to bring two parties together, he keeps pointing fingers to others and spend so much time on the road as Campaign-in-Chief for his re-election. His short and thin resume teachs us a lesson if the President we select is the right one.

    December 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    Could it possibly be that people are wising up to the fact that Obama is doing everything humanly possible to pull this country out of the ditch the rethugs drove it into and the rethugs are in the ditch trying to keep us there??? the only failure going on in DC right now is the failure of rethugs to do what they were sent there to do, GOVERN THE COUNTRY!!! they instead are doing everything in their power to get Obama out of office and the American people are the collateral damage. and so many of us are too stupid to see this, as judged by so many of the posts on this site. now the rethugs have screwed us again by blocking the payroll tax cut under the flimsy excuse that they want a longer deal. if you believe that, i have a nice bridge to sell you! they're all for tax cuts, but only for their rich buddies, not average Americans. when people get tired of being screwed by these hypocritical wastes of skin, the rethug party will disappear.

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Yeah Right

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aid lib-tards!!!

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Really now

    CNN expects us to believe them? Sure we will, when hell freezes over.

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Al D

    the tools at CNN just took down my response... Too right wing, its called "to accurate for posting"

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Finally

    Don't worry they didn't poll me, and I support the President 100 grand so it might be even higher than you think!

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Time

    Gotta love those tax cuts that you pay to youself... Social Security tax cut, its your retirement acct that gets short changed in the end...lollol

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. BeverlyNC

    His approval SHOULD be on the rise. He is the only LEADER we have doing any real work for the PEOPLE. He is the only intelligent person trying to get solutions for jobs, economic recovery, and education passed. He is the only one telling the TRUTH – ending wars, killing terrorists and bringing down Al Qaeda, creating a positive job number every single month, lowering unemployment, looking out for people liosing their homes, feeding the poor growing in number due to Republican obstruction of all help and funding for desperate Americans, Stand up for President Obama. He is standing up and working for YOU and has been all along. Vote out every Republican so he can do more faster and watch America recover at a record pace. Republicans are destroying our country intentionally and it is time to remove the GOP traitors.

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. MARCW

    President OBAMA, SHOULD BE ELECTED AN SECOND TERM. He is trying to cleanup the BUSH mess. Bush mess, hmmm- let me remind you; here are just an few messing that are effecting our daily lives:
    Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.
    Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.
    We illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
    We spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.

    Need i said more, this can't be mess over night. So, take your head out of the sand.

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Joi Gibson

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!!!

    December 20, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. sam

    Is there that many stupid people in America?

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Geof

    Nobody mentions that Democrats will lose the Senate in this election. Main stream media won't say 23 Dems are up for re-election and GOP is likely to gain many of those.

    I expect the polls to show Obama saved the world, cured cancer and got everything right by election time. After all, most of his really bad bills are hitting after the election. My fellow Americans are sheeple.

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    obama is pigs (famous line from amativille)

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Yep – and 50% is a big fat "F".

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. NVa Native

    These GOPers with their ugly & creepy comments full of hate & lies about President Obama are disgusting. And they want to socially engineer the US to reflect their ideology?
    That would be hell on earth.

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Glenn Koons, LB, Ca.

    Just what factors could make the lemmings believe this failed Prez should inspire any support? Failed stimulus, Obamacare,failed green energy policies and scandals, Fast Holder, more taxes-spending-regs, SEIU-ACORN union thugs ,OWS, foreign policy failures, JOBLESSNESS. What would bring up numbers except to use a sampling which no other polling org. has.

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. tomas

    if it wasn't for welfare fraud, he'd have no approval rating at all

    December 20, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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