March 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
7 years ago

CNN Poll: GOP underwater; Obama approval down

Washington (CNN) - A new national survey confirms what a months long, top-to-bottom Republican Party review finds as well: That the GOP "is out of touch" and seen as the party of "stuffy old men."

A CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that President Barack Obama's job approval rating has dipped below 50% for the first time since September, with half of the public saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House. And it appears that the president's stand on the issues and the glaring spotlight in recent months on fiscal and budget issues, never Obama's sweet spot, are contributing to the drop in his overall numbers.

According to the poll, 54% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, with less than three in ten saying they view the GOP in a favorable light. The poll's Monday release came on the same day that the Republican National Committee released a major review of their performance in the 2012 elections, and how to fix what went wrong.

"The Democrats are not overwhelmingly popular - 46% of Americans have a favorable view of the Democrats, compared to 48% with an unfavorable view - but in a two-party system, you only need to be more popular than your opponent to have an advantage," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Unfavorable views of the GOP extend into nearly every other major demographic," adds Holland. "The Republican Party's unfavorable rating is over 50% among men, women, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, and just about every region of the country besides the South, where the GOP can manage no better than a 45%-45% tie on the question."

Just over two-thirds of those questioned in the survey say the Republican Party favors the rich and nearly half think the GOP's policies are too extreme.

While the Republican Party's numbers are nothing to celebrate, it's not as if the president can brag about his polls. Forty-seven percent say they approve of the job Obama's doing in office, down eight points since the start of the year, with 50% saying they disapprove. That's up seven points from January and it's the highest that number has been in over a year. The 47% approval rating in the CNN poll is in line with recent numbers from surveys from other news organizations.

The poll finds the expected partisan divide, with Democrats overwhelmingly approving of the president and Republicans overwhelmingly disapproving, and Obama at 41% approval – 53% disapproval among independent voters.

By a 57%-42% margin, the public says Obama has the personal qualities a president should have.

"Americans still respond positively to the president's personal characteristics - it's his stands on the issues that they disagree with," says Holland. "Fewer than a third approve of how the president is handling the government's budget and fiscal policies, and the White House's 'charm offensive' has not registered with the American public."

Fifty-six percent say Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the Republicans in Congress. Not great, but less than seven in ten who feel that the Republicans are not doing enough to cooperate with Obama.

Only 31% say they approve of how the president's handling the budget and fiscal policy. Again, nothing to brag about but higher than the 19% who give the Republicans in Congress a thumbs up on the issue. And Americans are divided on whether the White House or congressional Republicans has the better budget and fiscal policies.

As for the forced federal spending cuts, which started kicking in at the beginning of the month, six in ten said the cuts were having a great deal or some effect on the nation's economy, and 35% said the cuts were having a great deal or some effect on their own financial situation.

The poll also has new favorable ratings on some Republicans in the news. Mitt Romney stands at 41% favorable and 52% unfavorable, close to his numbers in mid November, soon after the 2012 GOP presidential nominee lost the November election to Obama. The previous GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, stands at 46%-42%. But it's a different story for his running mate in 2008. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who got a very warm reception this past weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, has a 34% favorable rating and a 58% unfavorable rating.

The poll was conducted March 15-17 for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Polls • President Obama • Republicans • RNC
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Jim

    I'm sick and tired of both parties personally, and of all the partisan bickering and idealism. If both sides spent half the time working that they do bashing each other then we might actually get something done. At this point the sides have become so polarized that I have a hard time seeing them ever come together and compromise, and BOTH sides are responsible for this. Any time political discussion starts, it almost always degenerates to insults and name calling and there's NO excuse for such childish behavior.

    March 18, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. johnjon33

    the GOP sucks, and not in good way.

    March 18, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Chuck

    Obama falling in the polls, wait i thought he loved polls

    Polls will soon be outlawed

    March 18, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Benjamin

    The GOP must really change its extreme policies concerning immigration, women, gay rights and their unfavorable treating of the middle class. They are a party of mostly White People who cater for the rich. Most of the time, I hear from some independent voters that the GOP of old has been gone for so long now, replaced by Tea Party Talibans whose agendas are so extreme and against the middle class. No wonder, the GOP is mentioned called the Grand Obstructionist Party. The party of Lincoln has been dead for a decade now.

    March 18, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Mike Bushman

    Both parties are very interested in the long-term survival and prosperity of . . . their own party.

    March 18, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. tony

    I notice more and more responsible gun owners are unintentionally shooting themselves dead, while merely moving their assault rifles in and out of their pick-up trucks. This is a great, obvious example of evolution ay work. Now if we could just encourage and accelerate that trend, then we could rid the country of the "conservatives", the NRA and global warming all together.

    March 18, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. The Mayor of Medinah

    I would imagine that Jimmy Carter is now a very happy man he will no longer go down as the worst president in recent history?

    March 18, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. bibleverse1

    All I hear from GOP is Obama is wrong. Angry people yelling. Tell me without yelling.

    March 18, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. The Mayor of Medinah

    We do need a viable third party that offers a sencible alternative to the crazyness on both sides and then maybe we could get down to the business of the people and the country.

    March 18, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Duck

    What do they expect when they are throwing so many lives into financial ruin? For their political infighting. It's middle-classicide.

    March 18, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. really

    However, seeing the GOP as stuffy old men is completly wrong and shows they are disinformed or uninformed.

    You don't have to actually be a stuffy old man to think and act like one.

    March 18, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. mission accomplished

    The Mayor of Medinah

    I would imagine that Jimmy Carter is now a very happy man he will no longer go down as the worst president in recent history?

    No, that honor will go to GWB

    March 18, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Kari

    I don't make enough money for the GOP to give a rat's ass about me and I make too much money for the Dems to care. I'm screwed.

    March 18, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. holspark

    Right on Dude, My wallet is not Dem or Rep. It is MY money and I don't care who you are, you all have screwed this country up and have no knowledge how to fix it. None. So we suffer, and don't point fingers, JUST FIX IT.

    March 18, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Cindy

    Neither party has anything to brag about. They are both terrible.

    March 18, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Saboth

    It says a lot about the education of this country. The Republican party should have WAY more of an unfavorable rating than 54%. I'm thinking, 85%.

    March 18, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Kenman

    Just goes to show you how much damage the liberal national media can do to uncommitted Republicans unwilling to stand up to them and the liberal onslaught from our supreme leader, and how much they can help the supreme leader with 47% "approval" being much higher than he should ever have.

    Also, that 47% "approval" is not matched in any other poll category in a positive way for Obama, so WHAT are those confused 47% "approving of", his phony smile, his orchestrated flashes of machismo, his arrogant aloofness, his getting away with being a poor leader dividing the country and not letting it hinder his billionaire lifestyle on the public dole?

    March 18, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. thelastindependent

    Isn't the two-system great? Just like being caught between a rock and a hard place.

    March 18, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. sammy

    The ratings are down, because the American people have lost confidence in our government. Our lawmakers do nothing now. It all about being on vacation or recess. Yet they still get paid.

    March 18, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Hoss

    It is due to his resemblance of the devil

    March 18, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. KBNJ

    Without his beloved MSM, Obama would be toast. Seriously, when in History could ANY President say he has no intention of balancing a budget in TEN years after doubling the debt and NOT cut his poll numbers in half? At some point, people will start paying attention to reality.

    March 18, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Hoss

    It is due to the way the history channel portrayed him

    March 18, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Gee, if you were to poll the people who voted for the President in the last election, you'd discover that 100% of us approve of the job our President is doing. We're fully aware that the President CANNOT force the right wing obstructionists in the House to compromise and get legislation passed for the American people. But we're not worried because come 2014, Democrats will take control of the House and Senate.

    March 18, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. kalil

    The GOP have been suffering from constant hammering from a President who made it his only priority, also Conservatives not crazy about the RINO section of the GOP and their lack of spine, add to that the media dumping also on them.

    March 18, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Largerthandeath

    Medinah, the Jimmy Carter I know did not triple the debt as Raygun did, did not collude with our enemies to keep Americans in prison in Iran until he won the election, did not conspire to violate U.S. Law in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador and did not begin the destruction of the Unions which has caused this collapse of the Middle class.
    Only the Repig party of Raygun could be so failed!
    Obama doesn't even BEGIN to approach the criminality and incompetence of the Raygun admin.

    March 18, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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