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. BlackDynamite

    The closer Romney gets, the closer Obama gets to 100%......

    February 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. RapidOne

    I guess we'll just have to wait for the Republican machine to drum up hate, anger, ignorance and stupidity in order to get these numbers down.

    God, anyone who is still listening to Republican garbage nowadays is worthless due to their bigotry, weak-mindedness, or addiction to HATE and ANGER.

    February 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Dr Knowitall

    Yeah right, we are not that stupid !!
    We called 1041 employess of the Federal Energy department and asked them their opinion of Presidents Obamas performance... 50% said he was doing a good job.

    February 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. mary

    The worst U. S.A. President since Carter. Wait till you see the price of gas go up to $8.00 a gal.

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

    not hard to understand. it's easy to blame the president for inherited problems, but all one has to do is look at the current crop of redumblican candidates. president obama looks really good.

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Neil

    I am in awe of how many socialist and commies we have here in this country...Obama is a disgrace and anyone who thinks he has solved anything is a damn fool...

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Terri

    I don't think things are going well in this country but I don't blame Obama. I wouldn't give him any credit for anything good either. Congress has passed horrible bills that have taken so long to get junk paper to the President that if he didn't sign them into law nothing would have been accomplished at all. The GOP has held us all hostage while they have played games to suit the wealthiest people and corporations (I know, they are people to, whatever) in our nation. Taxes MUST go up along with the spending cuts that Obama has agreed to. Obama has asked for tax increases for 3 years and the GOP has demanded all we do is cut spending. Any idiot knows with the debt we have an increase in revenue is required with those cuts. I am very irritated with Obama for not standing firm and demanding those increases but I get the game. The GOP is killing us. Their own political ads have indicated none of their candidates are worthy of being President. They can thank all their great Super Pacs for those wonderful political ads about the GOP crop they have offered up when they lose the election too.

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. what1ever

    Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Dr Knowitall

    Anything penned by Paul Steinhauser has to be taken with a grain of salt anymore.

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Marie

    God help your mess of a country if Rick Santorum gets elected. That would be the end of you guys, what a moron, even worse than Sarah Palin!

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. rdg18

    The number of clueless continues to grow.

    February 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. migeli

    Gas is going up baecause the oil companies don't want Obama to win this election. They are worried about their big subsidies and tax breaks.

    February 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Republican Class Warfare

    "If things are improving, why are gas prices so dam high? It takes 1/4 of my paycheck every week just to drive to my job!"

    America's number one export is gasoline. Blame it on the job creators who are getting rich by keeping prices high here at home and selling it at even greater profits overseas!

    February 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. David

    Really! That's Terrific. Thank you for that truthful update. I'm so excited!

    February 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Eric

    mike2236: You are correct, gas prices are up sharply under President Obama. They plunged in 2008 as demand for gasoline plunged because we were about to enter a Great Depression. When the economy recovered, gas prices also went back up again. Gas prices were $4.21 in July 2008 when Bush was President (higher than today). When the economy tanked, gas prices plunged along with the economy. Obama became President during this time. The economy recovered and so did gasoline demand. So the "gas has gone up 84% under Obama" is a totally disingenuous statement, since it's still cheaper today than in July 2008 when Bush was President.

    February 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Any intelligent person would know that gasoline was over $4.15 during the last summer of Bush.

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

    BOOM! 51% baby. I'm back on the bandwagon.

    February 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. rrsksh

    The mainstream media propaganda machine. Does anyone realize that on New Year's Eve (yes, in the dark of night) this man signed a law (NDAA) allowing him to detain American citizens indefinitely, without charge, without due process and without legal representation?? What a great way to shut up "dissidents." I'd expect this in China or North Korea, but here it is on our doorstep. Thanks Obama.

    February 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. yogi

    The trend will continue and will result in reelection for Obama. It is very interesting to read the trend of Republican posts here, reflecting the overall make-up of the party: rigidity, lack of education, lack of stating facts, and much screaming compensating for the lack of intelligence.
    Four more years of vision, dignity, intelligence, and a superior foreign policy which has resulted of regained respect of the U.S. worldwide.
    Obama 2012.

    February 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. floridaman

    Pres. Obama is only making this nation weaker and more in debt.... Wake up America!!! There are not more democrats then republicans......

    February 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I thinkObama is doing a pretty good job of fixing republican screw ups.

    February 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. James

    20 bucks says Obama wins a second term. Haven't found anyone to take me up on that yet.

    February 15, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. SI, SE PUEDE..OBAMA 2012

    President Obama will be re-elected in 2012 – Unlike the Republicans, President Obama can understand the suffering of the less unfortunate in this country. Once I considered voting Republican, but after watching the Republican candidates debate there is not way I can do so. President Obama is the best choice.

    February 15, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. J

    OBAMA 2012!!

    February 15, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Murky

    Worst President Ever

    February 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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