CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark
February 15th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama approval rating back to 50% mark

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's approval rating is back to 50% for the first time in more than eight months, and he currently holds an edge against all the remaining Republican presidential candidates in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll released Wednesday also indicates that the GOP's advantage on enthusiasm has been erased, and that the number of Americans who think things are going well in the country is on the rise. Six out of ten say things are going poorly in the country, but four out of ten say things are going well, up 15 points since November.

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"Does that mean it's morning in America? It is for Democrats - a solid majority of them now say things are going well in the country. But overall, six in ten still have a gloomy outlook about the state of the country," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Optimism is on the rise among independent voters, with a notable increase among men as well, although a majority of both groups still think things are going poorly."

The rise of Americans who say things are going well appears to be helping the president, whose approval rating now stands at 50%, with 48% saying they disapprove of the job Obama's doing in the White House. The president's approval rating has edged up three points from last month and is up six points from November. The last time Obama's approval rating was at 50% or above was last May, as a result of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and it stayed there for about a month before fading.

"Independents now have a net-positive view of President Obama," says Holland. "His approval rating has also reached 50% in the suburbs."

Looking ahead to November, the poll indicates that the president's re-election chances are on the rise. In hypothetical matchups among registered voters, Obama holds a 51%-46% margin over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, leads both former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas by the same 52%-45% advantage, and beats former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 55%-42%.

The president appears to have gained ground since January against Romney, Paul, and Gingrich. Only Santorum has held steady. The poll also indicates that Obama wins a majority of independent voters in all four general election match-ups.

"More than six in ten Americans believe that the policies of Romney and Gingrich favor the rich; Santorum and Paul do better on that measure, but only a quarter feel that way about Obama," says Holland.

The survey suggests that the contentious Republican primary season has decreased enthusiasm among Republican voters, virtually erasing the "enthusiasm gap" that promised to provide the ultimate GOP presidential nominee with a major advantage in the fall. In October, 64% of Republicans said that they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for president, compared to only 43% of Democratic voters. GOP enthusiasm since that time has tumbled 13 points, to 51%, virtually the same as the Democrats' level of enthusiasm.

Other findings in the poll: 67% of the public says they are either very or somewhat angry about the way things are going in the country, down five points from September. And 31% approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, with 22% giving congressional Republicans a thumbs up. Both numbers are virtually unchanged from last autumn.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from February 10-13, with 1,026 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 report

Also see:

Gingrich: Santorum 'misunderstands' modern warfare

Santorum slams Obama administration as 'elite snobs'

Romney surrogates attack Santorum's record

CNN Poll: Romney's likability fading

CNN Poll: Gender and income gaps in GOP nomination battle

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. toppgunnery

    This is just a result of CNN spotting this JOKER about 60+ points. Real rating is about minus 16-17%!!!

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |

    2236: Gas was WAY undervalued when Obama took office, because the stock market had just collapsed. In fact, gas prices hit bottom in March 2009, along with the stock market, and have been rising ever since.
    Yes, what you said is a fact. But it is not relevant. Correlation is not causation.

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Reason

    yeah mike cause you represent the middle of the country Im sure.

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. what1ever

    "Celebrate good Obama come on!" -Randy Marsh

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. D50

    “Today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we’ve long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay — and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control.” - Barrack Obama, February 2009


    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Bubba

    Thank God. Down here in Texas, we're tired of the current assortment of idiot Republican candidates.

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Mark

    If this isn't evidence that the majority of CNN's polls or either biased or incorrect I don't know what it is!!! LOL 50% approval?????

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Laura

    Good news. I believe we will be better off over time, if the course Obama tried to implement start working. No more stupid wars which contributed to the problem, fair taxation, American national interests in the foreign policy first, reform political system to eliminate money influence, vote out all politicians who sold out themselves and our interests and elect honest people who want to rebuild the country.

    February 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    The country has simply been taken over by socialists.

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. VA VERY Ex Republican

    in your face truth and nothing but the NOT TRUTH LOLLOLOLLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. pop

    If u support the Obama, u support the Abortion, u don't have my respect.

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. John

    GOP Plan B – take 10 – Trot out the Newt, fit him a for pair of Spanx, and test a new wife for him.

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. ted runkel

    Everyone I know can't stand Obama.

    He won't win Virginia or North Carolina again!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. the Stugatz

    Who did you poll? All the recipients of gov't aid?

    NOBama 2012

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Toby

    One thing for sure, there are a lot more people dissatisfied with Obama now than when he was elected. We'll see what the people say on November.

    February 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. felix

    How has gas gone up 84% mike2236 under Obama mike2236? That's just a plain old unfactual statement = lie.

    February 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. wade

    Well ya for CNN poll ht would you expect from a stone cold supporter of Obama. His real poll numbers are 45 % check the Gallup Polls. The professionals.

    February 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. GOP are sheep

    I say this with love to all you conservative extremists... HA Ha!

    February 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Seamus

    You know what Michiganers are talking about? Romney supported TARP and Wall Street but wanted Detroit to FAIL.

    February 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. RapidOne

    mike2236 - "Gas has gone up 84% under Obama, but funny how CNN refuses to report negative facts. Obama owns the media. Any intelligent person can see this."


    February 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Mike

    "And now the conservatives will flood this article with "CNN Bias" and "CNN supporting Obama" as a Canadian who is a voracious consumer of print and broadcast media both at home and abroad, I do sense a definite bias among US media outlets unlike any I see elsewhere, including in Canada which has the CBC, a taxpayer-funded body which has, to a large part, been able to maintain an objectivity and editorial honesty despite having political paymasters.
    I subscribe to the NYT, LAT, WaPo and, closer to home, the Seattle Times (the iPad versions now) and all of Canada's major dailies (all owned by one company, Post Media). In the US media, scandal coverage and critical analysis by most "mainstream" media outlets (print and electronic) appears to be prioritized by political allegiance.

    If a Democrat, coverage is off the front cover, usually buried beyond page three with party affiliation usually omitted.

    As a person in the financial industry, this was never more evident than the kid glove, apologetic treatment of Jon Corzine and MF Global's collapse and financial losses.

    The media's treatment of Corzine for his alleged transgressions would have been much different had he been a Republican.

    As well, when was the last time a reporter has ever held Mr. Obama's feet-to-the-fire? I cannot, for the life of me, remember a single hard-hitting interview in print or broadcast media with your President.

    Even the Democratic readership has to admit a explicit lack of critical analysis among your fourth estate. As an outsider looking in, the editorial bent, feature writing and tone has become so predictable.

    As a reader, I do not want constant bashing. What I do want is an honest, insightful and critical line of questioning and analysis. I have found, in fact, that some of the best coverage of US events and politics can be found in British newspapers. The Telegraph, is one such media outlet that doesn't appear to have a horse in the race and is not afraid to ask difficult questions. The same cannot be said of CNN and all the aforementioned media outlets. Speaking as a Canadian, if media outlets and their staffers in Canada were unable to check their allegiances and biases as seems so readily apparent in the US, Canadians would be up in arms. Is it that we north of the border value honesty and integrity more than you to the south?

    February 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. loretta

    Is everyone out of there minds? It's time to change things! If that change doesn't work we try again. Let's not get stuck in a rut and get ourselves deeper in the hole! Come on America let's think this through!

    February 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. lionking

    Barry will promise anything, lie about everything, and continue to pretend he is a leader in porder to get re elected by a racist population that believes skin color is a reason to vote for him.

    February 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. the real deal

    obama new world vision tax his land tax his bed tax the table at which hes fed tax his gas find some orther ways for taxes to pass tax his tractor tax his mule teach him taxes are the rule tax all that he has then let him know that you wont be done till he has no dough is this really the kind of society you people want to live in being told by the gov what to eat how to fed and raise your children what to drive ect our founding fathers fought hard for our freedom dont let it be taken from you wake up before its to late

    February 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Lolo

    Is it funny how all the naysayers are talking about gas prices? Look out the republicans are getting ready to run a scam to make our wonderful, hardworking president look bad just to hype up their base to win the election . Liar Liar pants on fire. That is all that the republicans/tea partiers do, just tell lies. We do not care what they say, America has awaken and we see what is truly going on. We do not need Faux News to think for us.

    February 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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