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. Raj

    Sad to see polling numbers get this much news. I will take him as my prez over the past three GOPers. Just for highlights, his administration has brought down unemployment from 11% (Thanks W) to under 7%, stopped two wars and attempted to get 45 MM Americans insured. All this with a hostile congress and brainless tea party. And we have problem with a prez like that. the lat GOPer left us with a trillion $$ deficit, after inheriting a surplus, got us in to two unnecessary wars and had unemployment up to 11%. We lost over 3 MM jobs under the GOPer policies. No thanks, I am very happy with the current prez. I want to know the 49% who unapprove of his performance and why?

    December 20, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Smellferd

    Stick a fork in him. I GARUNTEE the true number is a heck of a lot lower.

    December 20, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Charlie

    Not bad for a guy that saved the ecomomy. Remember 2007?

    December 20, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Dan

    Soon, only the wookie and the kids will approve

    December 20, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. lynn

    It's amazing how foam-at-the-mouth angry people get when the conclusions reached don't line up with their political views.

    December 20, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Robert L. Brown

    The amount of ignorance that is spewed out as truth in these posts is simple staggering to the imagination. I am not a praying man in the traditional sense of the work but in this case God please have mercy on our nation for she is rooting from within from hatred and ignorance, keep those that serve her safe from harm, Amen Amen and Amen

    December 20, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Tommy G


    "I will take his rating over congress's rating of 5% LOL Even Chlamydia polls higher than this congress!"

    That's because chlamydia will never lie to you.

    Unlike our Liar-in-Chief.... now lower than chlamydia!

    December 20, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Paul

    Big whoop de fricken do – who cares – can we not concentrate on things that are really more important in life.

    December 20, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Smellferd

    3/4 of democrats approve of the fact he is black. That's the limit of his base from here out.

    December 20, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. JJ236

    His incompetence is showing.

    December 20, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Scott

    The new Christmas game for 2013 is, "Write down 41% on December 20th and make a bet with someone how much worse it will be January 15th."

    December 20, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. socal71

    Obama is done. There is really nothing more you can say. Taking from the rich and the middle class and giving to the poor is one thing when there is a strong economy, but when we're fighting each day just to survive it doesn't fly. Had 9/11 not happened and Obama been President in 2000, it might be a different story. But he was elected to pull us out of this mess and not drive us deeper into debt.

    It's hard to blame Bush 6 years later when everything in place is your fault. I'm happy that I voted for him in 2008 as I believed in his message, but saddened that Americans were too stupid to see he was no leader after 4 years. Sometimes a change at the top is all you need in order to turn things around. It works in the private sector. But blame, lie, blame isn't going to pull those numbers up... it's going to be a miserable 3 years in this country. Unless Obama pulls a Clinton and governs in the middle.

    December 20, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Gary

    Admittedly, I too have little faith or trust in my president, the legislative branches, or even the judicial branch. I"m at a real low. And yet still we continue to allow hundreds of thousands of H1B visa workers to come here and suck up the $100-200k earning jobs in the high tech sectors. We are a lost nation.

    December 20, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. dnokc

    He hasn't bottomed...yet.

    December 20, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. wookieninja

    Liberals can keep Cali and new York .conservatives can keep Texas and the rest of us non radicals can just keep chilling in the Midwest.I'm so tired of radical liberals that I would fight in a war against them

    December 20, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Spheneh

    This guy is the absolute worst. In no way qualified to run a 7-11 and he's your president?
    Huge and increasing debt, your RIGHTS that Americans pride themselves on are being eroded hourly and lastly the world no longer fears or respects the strength of the USA. And why? Because he was elected, twice.
    Holding dual citizenship I will inform the American citizens that care, Barry had ruined and is still ruining
    The United States of America. The only way to defeat the only superpower is from within. HE'S DOING A GREAT JOB OF THIS!

    December 20, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Tommy G

    Malory Archer
    what has he done that warrnats his removal from office? And what crimes have the other committed

    How about lying to the entire country REPEATEDLY and perpetrating the biggest FRAUD on the American people that we have ever seen in the history of this country? If a private company had done this, people would be going to jail.

    December 20, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. ProudDem

    As always, it's in the details of the numbers. If you take out the percentage that disapprove because he isn't liberal ENOUGH for them, then he has a net positive approval rating. Of those that disapprove, the vast majority are from the opposing party...and I do mean opposing.These polls mean nothing, good or bad...just noise.

    December 20, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    He's still polling better than Reagan at the same point in time. 😉

    December 20, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. louenglish

    Too bad there aren't a few more !% ers to help keep his ratings up. After all he has done more for this economic sector in six years than any other President in history. He golfs with them. He vacations with them. He has expensive dinners and parties with them. When have you ever seen this President visit a slum? Work in a soup kitchen? Encourage kids on a poverty stricken school? And you can bet the payback will be huge after he leaves office.

    December 20, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I sure am glad to know that hating Obama has made all the haters rich.

    December 20, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Jim1073

    Who cares. until congress is held accountable for their 5% or even 18% approval rating I won't think much of the presidents approval rating. Replace congress in masse and then lets talk about replacing the figure head.

    December 20, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Gene

    And, if most of the folks reading this really knew the full depth of what Obama was doing.. he wouldn't even have an approval rating. Time will tell this story.

    December 20, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Canineok

    I am surprised they the disapproval isn't higher. Once you are found to be a liar, getting credibility back is almost impossible. The ultimate poll will be the Senate and House elections next November. I cannot imagine the President rebounding to positive by that time.

    December 20, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. lol

    Obama backpedaled on every single issue he campaigned for. He has become a third and fourth Bush term, continuing Bush's legacy and Doctrine. Did you expect any different from our Faux two party system that is really just ONE party.... the Super Wealthy.

    Slowly, but surely people are waking up and realizing our Two Party system is corrupt to the core. Both parties are rich beyond belief due to money they stole from all of us. Everyone is seeing that they are just frontmen for the lobbyists and the banks who REALLY control this country, not our will nor our votes. We need to abolish BOTH parties and END the Federal Reserve Money Laundering Machine. If you are reading this.... YOU are the resistance.

    December 20, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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