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. Occupy Wallstreet for Senate 2016

    Of course his poll numbers are up.

    People are finally realizing it's the wallstreet banksters who mooch off the system by paying for laws that benefit their greedy money whoring agenda. The 30 year old Reagan created myth against the welfare queen robbing this country into debt by sitting on their duffs has finally been debunked.

    We finally see the greed of the banksters affecting our everyday lives with high oil prices, a broken healthcare for profit system, and elected representatives that only listen to the almighty dollar bill.

    February 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Andy W

    Yeah, that's because everyone is realizing that Obama is actually using sound logic, as opposed to a bunch of hysterical rhetoric and "class warfare" coming from the Republicans.

    I'm a 27 year old out of college making 70k a year... Why would I be taxed at a higher rate then someone who makes millions? Am I not successful? Are you not "punishing" my success as compared to an insanely rich person? I'm just working on a smaller scale.

    Obama talks about everyone pitching in, and most people agree with that.

    February 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Olaf Big

    Good for Obama! I don't know if people appreciate him more, or just realize what an alternative might look like after watching the republican pirmaries.

    February 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Jariv

    If he gets re-elected you will see why you should have not voted for him. Just watch. Its going to be too late anyways.

    February 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Mark

    Yeah, but, but, but... Obama is a Kenyan Muslin Commy

    February 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. john

    CNN poll no doubt. Why is the breaking news CNN?

    February 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. DeeNYC

    You hear that?? it's pub crying all over the country, the one who aren't are living in denial and swear the country was better off when Bush was in office.

    February 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. fredflintstone

    Im sorry, what polls again?

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |

    He needs a second term to finish what he already started and also to do new programs. President Obama rocks.

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Strangways

    The Republicans must be changing their shorts right about now – economy on the mend, noooooooooo. Unemployment down – nooooooo. bin Laden dead, troops coming home – nooooooooo.

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. PHinMiami

    YaHoo! Stay on course. This country was in a financial free-fall when he took office. GOP politics are what got us into trouble and GOP politics will lead us to ruin. Time & time again, the Republicans have demonstrated they will destroy the country at all costs to take over again.

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. MalcmXcrement

    Obama will be about as welcome as a piranha in a hot tub when the price of gas begins to spike in a few months. By killing the Keystone Pipeline, he sealed his fate. Take that to the bank.
    Three years ago, the GOP was screaming "drill, drill, drill". Obama invested instead in his BS green technology, which fizzled. You reap what you sew...

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    i never trust the
    polls that the elite media reports.

    Only the ones from Uncle Rupert's propaganda/hacking machine? Its telling that you refer to them as "elite media": it certainly stands in stark contrast to the jounranlsitic hacks, liars and propaganda artists that further your psychosis.

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. brew987

    WOW! that is breaking news....not.

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Guest

    Congressional Repubs blindsided and dragged down our President (and almost the country) during the whole debt ceiling debacle and the birth certificate meaningless hoopla. But he has been ready for them this around! No longer a pawn, but the Chess Master. It's only up from here! 3 cheers for President Obama: Our protector from obstructionism, and the Defender of the Middle Class!

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. LiquidVelvet

    I expect that this trend will continue as the economy claws it's way back.

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Jason

    What the hell is wrong with this country?

    February 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    Damn tootin' my numbers are getting better. Snake oil sales are through the roof baby! These suckers are lappin' up all that tax money and likin' ol' Bama once again. Yeah, only in America can you give people back their own money in exchange for their vote. It's like they's bribing themselves and I AM THE WINNER! Ain't America great?!! If there is a sucker born every minute then this country has a decades worth!! Now gotta git back to snakin' as the orders are piling up.

    February 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    And the Obama media is kicking their re-election efforts into high-gear. A crafty pollster could probably also come up with a poll that says 50% of americans believe in Bigfoot. It's all in the wording. But it doesn't matter. Americans are obedient little sheep. They'll believe whatever the media tells them to. What did people used to do before there were pollsters and pundits to tell them what to think?

    February 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. RudyG

    I'm sure you at CNN are celebrating. Me? I'm an independent, and I'm waiting to see if the self-destructive Republicans can somehow put forth a candidate I can vote for, because frankly, Obama has had his chance, and I refuse to settle for mediocrity (and I'm being generous). The second coming of Jimmy Carter; that's what we have right now.

    February 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. rmtaks

    Republicans had better find some way to sandbag the economy before November.

    February 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. John Buetow

    Either the poll is a lie, or they only polled people with an IQ under 70... which could be more than half the country...

    February 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Expresss

    I wonder what areas the poll was conducted in? Meaningless propaganda.
    I can conduct polls that would show wild swings in the other direction.
    It just depends what areas of the country you poll.
    The media out in force to sell Obama again..

    February 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Brian

    Overall, this is good news for America. With the huge swing from independent voters, the GOP better stop feeding on each other during their primary. Alas, I believe it's too late. Romney's been labeled the moderate, Santorum the conservative, and Paul the crazy man. And you know Crazy Man Paul will run as a Third Party candidate in November, further depleting the Republican base. I cannot see the GOP majority getting behind Romney, even if Santorum runs with him in the general election. You can bet Orange Man and Tippy Turtle McConnell will be brewing up a fresh batch of NO

    February 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    Not surprised with poll numbers. Economy is getting better. GOP/Tea Party candidates have nothing positive to offer other than negatives against Obama. They are so far right in the political spectrum that movement towards the center to attract moderates and independents won't be possible. They also lack excitement or charisma in comparison to President Obama.

    February 15, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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