December 20th, 2013
01:01 PM ET
9 years ago

President ends year at all-time CNN polling low

Washington (CNN) – Fourteen points.

That's how far President Barack Obama's poll numbers fell in CNN polling over the course of what's been an especially tough year.

Obama's approval rating stands at 41% in a new CNN/ORC International survey released Friday, which matches the all-time low he fell to in CNN polling just last month. The President's disapproval rating remains unchanged at 56%, which is an all-time high in CNN surveys.

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CNN/ORC International full survey results

In the afterglow of his 2012 re-election victory, Obama's rating stood at 55% in CNN polling in January. That number ranged from the upper 40s to the low 50s through May in CNN and most other national polling, but steadily declined in the following months as Obama dealt with one controversy after another, from NSA surveillance and IRS targeting of political groups to the disastrous startup of and the controversy over millions of Americans being told they would lose their current insurance plans because they didn't meet stands mandated by the new health care law.

According to the poll, which was released Friday, 40% say they disapprove of the President because they say his policies and actions have been too liberal, with 12% saying they disapprove because he hasn't been liberal enough.

"The growth in negative views of the President comes almost equally from the left and the right," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Not surprisingly, the number of Americans who disapprove of him because he is too liberal is up six points since the start of the year.  But the number of Americans who disapprove of him because he has not been liberal enough is up almost as much since January, indicating that his slide is due as much to disappointment as it is anger."
Obama's support is weakening in some key demographics.

"A majority of women and half of younger Americans, two key components of the Obama coalition that helped to elect and re-elect him to the White House, disapprove of Obama's track record as President," Holland said.

Three-quarters of Democrats questioned say they approve of the job the President is doing in office, but one in five give him a thumbs down. The President's approval rating stands at 32% among independent voters and just 8% among Republicans.

Besides the CNN polls, Obama's approval rating reached new lows or tied his all-time lows in six other individual non-partisan, live operator national surveys conducted over the past two months.

Division on budget deal

The poll was conducted Monday through Thursday, as the Senate passed, with bipartisan support, a budget deal struck by Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and his Democratic Senate counterpart Patty Murray. The House overwhelming passed the agreement last week. According to the survey, 46% of Americans support the deal, with 42% opposed, and 12% unsure.

"Positive views of the budget agreement, passed by the Senate on Wednesday, outweigh negative views, but the number of Americans who don't have an opinion about the complex bill is in double digits, keeping support - and opposition - below 50%," Holland said.

There is a wide partisan divide over the spending plan: 65% of Democrats and 42% of independents support it but only 28% of Republicans are in favor of the deal, which sets spending levels, reduces the deficit, relieves some of the forced spending cuts known as sequestration, and prevents another government shutdown in January, when current funding for federal government runs out.

Obama compared to previous presidents

How does Obama's approval ratings match up to his most immediate two-term predecessors as they finished up the first year of their second terms?

George W. Bush also stood at 41% approval in CNN polling at the same point in December 2005. Bill Clinton was at 56% in December 1997 and Ronald Reagan was at a lofty 63% in December 1985.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International December 16-19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. commonsenseperson

    I'm surprised his approval rating is that high. The collective IQ in our electorate has fallen awfully low to have elected this person twice. No way would Romney have been worse.

    December 20, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. TomNPitt

    I'd like to see a poll on the American People. How happy are the American people with their own lives? How could it be better? How could it be worse? I think the American people are sick and tired of being sick and tired! Does anyone have anything good to say about anything??

    December 20, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. davecu

    "President ends year at all-time CNN polling low"

    There's still time left in this year. More people yet will feel the consequences of Barry's reign.

    December 20, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Rick

    I fully Support Obama. He has had a radical/extremist Republican party to work against for his 5 years. There only mission is to block/say nay and defeat him. The racism started loud and clean when Obama was elected. It brought out the Southern Republican racist theme over and over. He has done what he can with the back lash of a Tea Party and Republican party. The Republican Governors have trashed the people in there states. It was been an all out war against women, seniors, minorities.

    December 20, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. stating the obvious

    Jimmy Carter is SO SO thankful that Obama came along!!! The mantle of worse President in our history has now been passed on the the Liar-in-Chief. I simply cannot imagine that we could get anybody worse than Obama in the future, but who knows, the Democrat Party NEVER ceases to dig up these massive losers and conning the American people into voting for them.

    December 20, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. jeff

    leaders fail by not showing the proper respect to the worker worker gets smart figures out that hes only going so far and stops achieving in life and settles for lower qualities in life and x 1 mil. a country fails and so does a nation

    December 20, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. we see your true color by your talk

    haha, maybe obama will get the message, you lied, and yes you are the worst one in history

    December 20, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. ShawnDH

    41% approval is actually decent for this point in a second term. The economy is improving, people are starting to see the real benefits of the ACA, and this will rebound to very good numbers during his second term.

    December 20, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. unknown11

    What is it that the 3/4 of democrats approve of? I guess it is just his Obama-ness. They are still infatuated with him, and so proud of themselves for proving they aren't racist for electing him. It makes you wonder what he would have to do to make them disapprove. Is there anything?

    December 20, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Jeff

    2016 is wide open for a CENTRIST, MODERATE third party candidate. Too bad third party candidates never are 🙁

    December 20, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Chuck Briones

    Worst president of the United States ever!

    This man has no word; no credibility and no balls. That's why Putin and the North Koreans/Iranians don't respect us.

    December 20, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. BADGUY

    The guy is STILL the BEST President, I remember, in the last 60 years! He MAY be second ONLY to FDR...but even that COULD be disputed. He's the victim of the Fascist Right Wing iin this country who will NEVER give up the control of this nation by the top 1%. As the write up ABOVE says only about 40% think he's too liberal. 12% want him to be MORE liberal. That means the days of the far right wing are quickly dissipating.

    December 20, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. c

    This just hit the wire Obamacare website unexpectedly crashed again .......SHOCKER!!!!

    December 20, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Malory Archer


    I am so excited for the 2014 mid term elections. Republicans will have congress and the senate and I predict very quick action to remove Bussein from office and put Pelosi, Reid, Holder and Clinton in prison where they belong.


    Who is "Bussein" and what has he done that warrnats his removal from office? And what crimes have the other committed (outside your addled little brain)?

    December 20, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. GCF

    I agree with just saying, normalized for "skin tone loyalty" and these numbers are much lower

    December 20, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Scotty Starnes

    Obama's number wouldn't be this high if the media reported the truth instead of constantly cheer leading for him and pushing his propaganda onto the uninformed in society.

    December 20, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. myway

    So much for a president doing what he promised and some. He came through on healthcare, although in a bumpy ride so far, he ended the war in Iraq with a respectable close, almost there with Afghanistan, avoided a potentially dumb and costly involvement in Syria, killed more terrorists than any president before him, some high caliber like OBL, significantly improved the US popularity in parts of the world where we had severe image problems for many decades, re-opened relations with Iran, stuck to his guns with measures to fix the US economy bringing it back from near disaster, saved the US auto industry among others, got a deeply divided congress to approve a budget first time since 2009 without giving up much ground, and the list goes on. What does a president have to do to please his voters? Change his skin color?

    December 20, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. unknown11

    I think that the new media owes the country a huge apology. They were lapdogs for Obama for about 6 years.

    December 20, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Scotty Starnes

    Obama's numbers wouldn't be this high if the media actually reported the truth instead of Obama's propaganda.

    December 20, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Who cares what the polls say, he's still the president and Romney, the GOP savior is not and anyway he's not elected by polls but buy votes and he won!!!!!

    December 20, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. bluevortex

    Let us remember that when Nate Silver predicted the outcome of the 2012 election (Electoral College) on the mark, CNN was saying its polls showed Obama and Romney about even. Does that suggest bias? What is going on here? The economy continues to get better on many fronts. Obama is a good leader by objective measures–decisiveness where it is important (bin Laden, Healthcare, standing up against Republican attempts to hold government hostage) and restraint where important (Syria). The healthcare act is a great step forward (as seen in other countries–misinformation about those countries notwithstanding); yes there are glitches in its implementation but glitches are to be expected in any large scale operation; this is not to minimize the problem but the problem is soluble; but Republicans have seized on the opportunity target the act rather than the problems and are not helping (suggesting that they put their own interests before that of America); and many Americans are believing the Republicans thus proving the maxim that if a claim –true or false– is repeated often enough, even if by the same source, people will believe it. My personal opinion is this: Obama is better than any president since Kennedy and Eisenhower; and the Republican Party is acting against America's best interest.

    December 20, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. haha

    I love how people actually think Obama makes decisions for himself. The vast majority of Americans have no clue about how our government works. This president, just like those before him, is simply a pawn/puppet... he's told what to say and what to do by the folks that really run the show.

    Anyone who does not believe this simple fact is an absolute m0ron.

    December 20, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Robin Jones

    Unlike his speculative Obama got these negative poll numbers the old fashioned way – he earned them. Polls are the ultimate truth when they're in your favor, and meaningless when you don't like the results.

    December 20, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Bill D

    Maybe it has something to do with "If you like your current insurance, you can keep it, Period" Or maybe then again it may have something to do with all the other lies he's told.

    December 20, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Robin Jones

    Unlike his speculative Nobel Prize, Obama got these negative poll numbers the old fashioned way – he earned them. Polls are the ultimate truth when they're in your favor, and meaningless when you don't like the results.

    December 20, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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