Obama Approval Rating Slips to 57 Percent

carousel obama approval rating CBS

President Obama's approval rating has fallen six points in the past month, a new CBS News poll finds, amid growing skepticism about his handling of the economy and questions about the impact of the stimulus package.

The president's current approval rating, which is 57 percent, is still relatively high. But it has fallen 11 points from its peak of 68 percent in April, and has also dropped since last month's mark of 63 percent. His disapproval rating, meanwhile, has risen from 23 percent in April to 32 percent today.

The decline in support is coming not from Republicans - whose support for the president has actually risen - but from Democrats and independents. While 82 percent of Democrats still approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing, this number is down ten points from last month.

The president's support among independents has fallen eight points to 50 percent. Only 30 percent of Republicans back Mr. Obama, though that's up from 23 percent in June.

Read The Complete Poll (PDF)
The driving issue behind the president's decline in approval appears to be the economy. His approval rating on handling the economy is now 48 percent, while 44 percent disapprove. Last month, Americans approved of his handling of this issue by a margin of 22 points.

The optimism over the economy seen in May - when 32 percent said it was getting better and 23 percent said it was getting worse - has dissipated. Now just 21 percent say the economy is improving, while 33 percent say it is getting worse. Forty-five percent say it is staying the same.

Half of all Americans expect the recession to go on at least two more years. Fifty-seven percent say the country is on the "wrong track," up from 50 percent last month. And 44 percent describe the economy as "very bad," up from 36 percent in June.

Despite White House efforts to stress the implementation of the stimulus package, just 21 percent say it has had a positive impact on the economy. The majority of those surveyed - 60 percent - say it has had no impact, while 15 percent say the stimulus has made the economy worse.

(CBS)
Forty-two percent of Americans do say the stimulus will have a positive impact in the long run, however. Twenty-nine percent say it will have no impact, while 21 percent say it will make things worse.

Although the stimulus has been criticized by some for its impact on the nation's deficit, most Americans (63 percent) are willing to accept short-term deficit increases if it means an economic boost. Thirty-one percent say they oppose raiding the deficit to stimulate the economy.

More than half of those surveyed say Mr. Obama is trying to do too much in his first few months in office, up from 38 percent in April. Just 4 percent say he is trying to do too little.

Two in five Americans are now "very concerned" about someone in their household losing their job, up from one in four in May. An additional 29 percent are somewhat concerned about a job loss. Just 30 percent say they are not concerned.

Twenty-eight percent of Americans say their household income is not enough to pay their bills, up from 22 percent last month and 17 percent in February.

(CBS)
Health Care:

Perceptions of the president's handling of health care reform have improved five points since last month, and his approval rating on the issue now stands at 49 percent.

That same percentage says that America must fix health care because of the bad economy. But nearly as many - 46 percent - say the country cannot now afford to reform health care. Among Republicans that figure is 55 percent.

Americans do want more government control over the health care system generally. Sixty-two percent say the government should exert more control, while 34 percent say it should not.

And sixty-four percent favor a public (or government-run) option to compete with private health care plans. Just 29 percent oppose such an option, despite strong Republican opposition.

Twelve percent of Americans say they would "definitely join" a public health care plan. Forty-three percent would consider it alongside private plans.

(CBS)
Thirty-one percent, meanwhile, say they would consider it only if they had no other options. And 11 percent say they would never consider it.

A majority of Americans (60 percent) say it is at least somewhat likely Mr. Obama will reform health care in his first term, though just 11 percent overall say that's "very" likely.

Foreign Affairs:

The president gets generally positive reviews on his handling of Iraq (60 percent approve) and foreign policy (53 percent approve). Sixty percent say Mr. Obama's presidency has had a positive impact on the U.S. image in the world.

Opinions of the situation in Iraq have improved since last year, though there pessimism persists. Fifty percent of those surveyed say Iraq will never become a stable democracy, down from 61 percent in May of last year. Forty-six percent say it will become a stable democracy, though the vast majority expect that to take longer than a year or two.

More Americans think Iraqis feel resentful of the United States (44 percent) than believe Iraqis feel grateful to the U.S. (38 percent) for its involvement in their country.

Fifty-eight percent say things are going well for the U.S. in Iraq, while 33 percent say they are going badly. In April, 71 percent said things were going well.

In Afghanistan, however, a majority of Americans (55 percent) say things are going badly. Just 36 percent say they are going well.

Most Americans (60 percent) say the threat of North Korea can be contained, while 23 percent say the United States should engage in military action now in response to the country's nuclear tests and launching of ballistic missiles. (That's an increase of five points from April.) Ten percent say North Korea is not a threat.

A majority of those surveyed - 56 percent - say the president is giving protestors in Iran the right amount of support. Thirteen percent say he has given too much support while fifteen percent say he has given too little.

Congress and the Vice President:

Just 15 percent of those surveyed expect Congress to accomplish a great deal, despite Democrats having secured 60 votes in the Senate.

Forty-seven percent say Congress will do "a fair amount," while 36 percent expect the legislative body to do not much or nothing.

Just 32 percent say Democrats should try to pass legislation even without Republican support. Sixty percent think the party should try to pass legislation that receives bipartisan support.

And only 22 percent approve of the job Congress is doing overall, a decrease of six points from last month though an increase over its approval rating last fall.

Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has a job approval rating of 47 percent, near where it was in April (50 percent). Twenty-six percent now disapprove, an increase of 13 points.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 944 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone July 9-12, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Comments