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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soundoff (492 Responses)
  1. Johnny 5

    I would rather take my chances with having no president then to re-elect Obama. It's almost like he isn't here now, so we kind of already have a taste of what it would be like.

    December 20, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Vacationer-in cheif

    This poll is as about as reliable as a poll done by rachell maddow or ed shultz, amongst the employees at msnbc as to whether or not they feel the president is doing a good job .or we could just do a poll of the administration of what it thinks of itself ,im sure it will be a honest and reliable poll.

    December 20, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Holly

    Obama's approval is only on the rise because people are feeling the Christmas spirit of forgiveness. Don't worry, it will plummet after the holidays when millions realize they have no money, no job, and no home. This man has made a mockery out of our system. He has more than doubled the national debt. He has made us a weak nation. How can people approve of that? Who are they polling and do these people even have a clue what is happening in America right now?

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. All are crooks!

    When you borrow from Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on Paul for support!

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. CNN Shills for Obama

    Notice this poll included NO DATA on who was called, party affiliation, age, etc etc etc.

    CNN will spend the next 12 months like the previous 36 – lying for Obama.

    Won't work

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. brodave

    It is always entertaining to visit the meeting place for the American Communist Party.

    Enjoy your moment in time. It will be over in Nov 2012.

    Oh, and don't ever believe the Communist New Network's polls – they are biased.

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Roland Marxie

    its a fake just like the entire democratic party is NOW..this is not your grandpa's democratic party anymore..these are one world progressive liberals..wake up america..this is not the "DREAM"

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. TGC

    BS...if the media is trying to prop him up by saying he is at 50%, that means he is barely are 35%! Nobody is buying your lies anymore.

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Nobama Noway

    This is BULL!!! There is no way his numbers are up, unless you have sampled everyone on welfare and unemployment, and have excluded the tax payers of this country!

    December 20, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. ronjon

    What part of good job do you suppose the 50% most like : Unemployment, Record debt or losing their houses. It's a tough choice but those 50% must certainly be right.

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. tdizzle

    this poll is a joke. how did he jump 5 pts? what has he done in the past few days that would give him that jump? and don't give me that "it's the GOP's fault for sucking so bad." or something to that effect.

    This is great. if it's not enough that the vast majority of MSM so biased left, now they're skewing the polls.

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Dave

    Gary is a liar. Don't listen to him.

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Nancy Pelosi

    Boy, what a shocker. CNN is reporting that a CNN poll has identified a rise in ODUMBO's approval rating.

    What is next? Water is wet? Michelle is a hateful woman?
    Don't believe it, watch

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. SenorCoughee

    Wow, there's certainly a bunch of disgustingly hateful partisan tools on the blog today. I'm right, you're wrong. I'm smart, you're stupid. Blah, blah, blah...same old garbge day after day... you ignorant tools.

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. FBO48

    Do we really trust a CNN poll? Thats like the fox guarding then hen house.

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. mittensonkittens

    Obama has not spoken to GOP leadership since JULY, people!

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Joe Six Pak

    Who is ORC International????

    December 20, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Tim

    You'll have to make up your own mind and adjust accordingly, given that this is a CNN poll.

    December 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. dave

    The only people home during the day to answer the phones are those not working.

    December 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Dave

    1 in 2 Americans is borderline retarded? I don't believe it.

    December 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Allah_Speaking

    Another CNN poll comprised of 1015 Democratic voters... Who would have ever guessed... CNN is a joke.

    December 20, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    The DNC Chairwomen said last year that, "they (democrats) owned the economy". Now it is, “the economy is worse than we knew". When they were campaigning, it was the "worst since 1929". So, it is either worse than 1929 or they have no idea. While the government cannot control the economy in the aggregate, their policies have not helped.
    I believe the biggest block to growth is government regulation. We all must remember; once the economy is destroyed regulation won’t matter. Am I the only one who read, “Atlas Shrugged”?

    December 20, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Peter in New York

    Hysterical comments here. What a bunch of haters. Obama is going to win and it won't be close. The Republican presidential candidate field is flat-out disgraceful, but fairly represents a party that has simply gone off the rails. The Republican Congressional delegation is a fine example: it hyperventilates at the mere mention of the Presiden't name and wants to refute settled law if it means that the President's policies might be implemented. Elections have consequences, and Obama won. The right doesn't accept that, and will have an even harder time when he wins, again.

    Guys, this won't be close. And if you think it will, go ahead and bet on Intrade or something and lose your shirts. Obama will take this clean and simple. And you guys will be left sputttering in the wilderness wondering why the majority of the country doesn't agree with you. (Hint: stop sputtering, for starters. It's kind of crazy.)

    December 20, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Pete

    The poor stupid people of this country still have no clue that this guy has no idea what he is doing. Approval numbers blown up in May right after he gave the OK to kill Bin Laden – Oh what a great job BO did! Great job? He didn't do anything! He sat in a room and hoped that our troops would get this guy and for this, he is seen as a hero? Get real. This is guy is still the idiot in elephant pajamas. If he gets another term, this country will be $20T in debt and no sign of getting out of it. People – do not make the same mistake that was made in 2008 – we need someone with experience and fresh ideas for this country – not this sap.

    December 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. loathstheright

    Now if only the "Conservative Corporate Media" would quit interviewing Reichwing Fascists who spew their propaganda 24/7 and actually inform America about what Obama has accomplished his numbers would be much higher. But then we don't have the smartest voters in the world either.

    December 20, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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