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. the real deal

    dont worry people just anorther fabricated poll just like unemployment is at eight point seven percent when a gallop poll showed it at nine percent understand they have to make up lies he has no real record of anything what a joke hahahahahahahahah

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. The Left Wing

    I supported Obama over Clinton in the 2008 primary cycle because of how well he could articulate a vision. Although Hillary was known as the "fighter", I felt that Obama could lead by using his speaking skills. When he became President, he stopped speaking out and let congress carry the burden. Since he has started speaking out again, it has made a difference in how he is able to govern. If he had been quiet for months and months would the Republicans have caved on payroll tax cuts, unemployment and the doc fix? I hope the President keeps speaking out even after he is re-elected. It is not just campaigning, it is using the bully pulpit to get support for your policies. With an obstructionist congress you have to get support directly from the people. Obama is good at it and needs to do more, not just to be re-elected but to govern effectively. When the poll numbers go up so does his ability to get his policies passed.

    February 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. informed voter

    The definition of irony is in this fool's poorly written, grammatically challenged post:

    They must have polled the uneducated people in America. Anybody who votes for Obama needs their heads examined,

    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Alex

    My impression is that Americans shudnt vote rep jst bcos dey need 2chg sm1 @ d whitehouse,wot they shud b lookin out 4 is sincerity,just look in2 Mitt Romney's eyes...he's desperate. Rily a pity wot d repub congress is doin even @ d expense of d whole country...they make it seem as if bitter politics is everywhere even if it is i expect much more from America

    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Well ,what would you expect once the magnifying glass is on the GOP candidates. It`s quite apparent that the republican candidates have nothing to offer but talking points and saying"Obama is the worst president in history." That does not resonate with intelligent,informed,internet savvy people of this generation. These Reagan era idolizers are not where the majority of the people are today. Their group are fading and literally dying off(alot are old)and they can`t seem to connect with people. Mitt Romney thinks wearing jeans and rolling up his shirt sleeves gives people the impression he`s just like the common man.

    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. GM

    LOL. Why wasn't it "Breaking News" when his poll numbers dropped like a rock last year?

    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. diridi


    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Lolo

    @ Bill G they are asking people with common sense. Definitely not the bozo's in your party. You Republicans have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Richard

    This is great new just after CPAC and a great transition for President Obama. I love the fact that against all odds we are moving forward!! Obama 2012. He has my vote!

    February 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Spelunker4Plato

    Obama might get re-elected if Republicans continue screwing up by not voting for Ron Paul.

    February 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Gary

    Anyone who will vote for this communusst again is sick!!

    February 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Bill

    Obama is succeeding despite the anti-American efforts of the GOP/Tea Party.

    February 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. John Smith

    Well there are some smart people in this country after all. Big middle finger to the sub-intelligent species that vote for Sanitorium and Romney-tard.

    February 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. JL

    Can't look beyond the fact that Obama is...
    -Spending this country into a debt we can never recover from
    -Is in favor of keeping abortion legal
    -Keeps taking money from those who have earned it and deserve it and gives it to those who don't.

    February 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Sam

    I hear next term Obama will double my welfare benefits? Is that true?

    February 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Dude in Colorado

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    i never trust the
    polls that the elite media reports.

    You just outed yourself as a Faux News troll, go home turkey.

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. of course...

    well ya, he's cute, smart, works hard, says all the right stuff (until he listens to republican war mongers, globalists, and banksters), nice family. what's not to like. the stuff we hate was here before him.

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. jcinpa

    Why is this "BREAKING NEWS"?

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. skinsrock

    Nobody cares about politics ... We just want the coolest president... If you are a dork, no need to apply... Lookin' for Rockstars.

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. mike58

    sad when he has to celebrate only 50 % approval

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |

    Obama's food-nazi's are out in force, gas is about to hit $4.00 gallon, and he's itching to go to war with Iran. Sure sounds like the Dems are happy.....

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. BOBE

    No matter who comes to our next president we will be poor. Poor never get help period........

    February 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Granny

    Of course his numbers are going up... He is in an Election year... Great campaigner but when push comes to shove where is he, on vacation, golfing, or just plain on vacation. Come on, he made promises the first time and didn't deliver.. When and IF he is reelected he won't deliver then... I fail to see why people are so.....blinded by this president. WAKE UP AMERICA, we are going down hill fast..

    February 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. bookgirl

    Take a look at the republican candidates.. What do you expect? I didn't think Obama did his best in his first term, but there is no way I would ever vote for one of the candidates the republicans are offering up. They need to shut their mouths and maybe things would improve for them. Especially that Rectu.. ,er, Santorum. Does he honestly believe he can impose the theology of the Catholic church on this country? I find him to be the most appalling of all the candidates. All of these candidates want a theocracy...none of them believe in the separation of church and state. They do nothing but promote the divide between the people of America.

    February 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Rickster

    "Massachusetts hospitals are poised to receive a $3.5 billion windfall in federal funding over the next 10 years thanks to a little-known provision Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) inserted into the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
    Thanks alot, dems, for saddling us with the Worst President Ever.

    February 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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