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Poll: 2008 Obama Backers Not Excited to Vote This Year

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.


Democrats have an uphill climb in their quest to get their voters out to the polls this year: A new CBS News/Knowledge Networks survey finds that two in three likely voters who say they voted for President Obama in 2008 are less enthusiastic about voting this year.

Just one in three are more enthusiastic than they were in 2008.

Three of the key groups that helped Mr. Obama to victory - independents, Hispanics and first time voters - all report diminished enthusiasm this year. It's a sign that appeals by the president and members of his party to get their supporters to the polls may be thus far falling short.

Sixty-nine percent of registered voters who backed Mr. Obama in 2008 say they will "definitely" vote this year, and another 19 percent say they "probably" will. But more than one in ten in this group say they probably or definitely will not, including 16 percent of independents and nearly one in five Hispanics.

Overall, three in four 2008 Obama voters surveyed for the poll say they are satisfied with the Obama presidency. Twenty-two percent - and 34 percent of independents who backed Mr. Obama in 2008 - are disappointed.

The primary cause of disappointment? The economy. One in two Obama voters who are disappointed with the Obama presidency pick that as their reason, easily outpacing health care reform (17 percent), the budget deficit (13 percent), the war in Afghanistan (8 percent), immigration policy (6 percent) and energy policy (1 percent).

Eighty-eight percent of 2008 Obama voters say the current administration has had little or no effect on their financial situation, despite a stimulus package that included a tax cut for the vast majority of Americans. Just 14 percent say the administration has had a significant impact on their financial situation.

Nearly one in two say the president has spent too little time dealing with the economy. By contrast, 33 percent say he has spent too little time on financial reform and 15 percent say he has spent too little time on health care.

With the unemployment rate hovering just below ten percent, 35 percent of 2008 Obama voters - including half the independents among that group - say the president does not have a clear plan for creating jobs.

Assessing the President's Achievements:


Obama voters satisfied with the Obama presidency point to health care reform as the source of that satisfaction more than any other issue. Forty-one percent cite health care reform, followed by removing troops from Iraq (21 percent), banking reform (12 percent), the stimulus package (12 percent) and credit card reform (nine percent).

Three in four 2008 Obama voters approve of the health care legislation, though 54 percent say the law did not go far enough. Less than one in five expect the legislation to help them.

A slim majority of 2008 Obama voters, 51 percent, say Mr. Obama has made progress in solving the nation's problems. But views are mixed here: 40 percent say he has tried but made no progress, and another eight percent say he has either made the nation's problems worse or not addressed them.

Thirty-eight percent say the president has tried to accomplish too much, while 14 percent say he has tried to achieve too little. Roughly half say he has tried to accomplish the right amount.

Roughly one in two Obama voters say the president has brought "some" change to Washington, and 16 percent say the president - who campaigned on change - has brought a lot of it. Thirty two percent, including nearly half of independents, say he has brought little or no change.

Unhappiness with Washington is prevalent among Obama voters, as it is with the population overall: Fifty-eight percent say they are dissatisfied or angry with Washington. Just one in four approve of the job being done by Congress.

The good news for the president is most of his voters are standing by him. Eighty-two percent say they approve of the way the president is handling his job, including 73 percent of independents.

Mr. Obama's highest approval rating from his 2008 voters comes on the issue of terrorism, where 80 percent approve of his performance. That's followed by health care (75 percent), the economy (67 percent), the war in Afghanistan (65 percent), job creation (64 percent) and the budget deficit (62 percent).

Overall, 74 percent of 2008 Obama voters have a favorable view of the president, while ten percent have an unfavorable view. The numbers are slightly worse among independents who backed him in 2008: 63 percent hold a favorable view and 14 percent hold an unfavorable view.

The president remains popular among 2008's first time voters, a slim majority of whom are under age 30. While just 33 percent of likely voters who backed Mr. Obama in 2008 are more enthusiastic about voting this year, 46 percent of likely voters who voted for the first time (and for Mr. Obama) in 2008 are more enthusiastic this time around.

Who They're Voting For:

Two in three 2008 Obama voters who are likely to vote this year plan to back a Democrat. Eight percent plan to support a Republican, while roughly one in five says it depends.

Independents in this group are less likely to back a Democrat: Just 42 percent of likely independent voters who voted for the president two years ago plan to vote for his party's House candidate in 2010. Twelve percent of those voters plan to vote for the Republican, and about four in 10 say it depends or they don't know who they will vote for at this point.

2008 Obama voters are evenly split on whether their representative deserves reelection, and a majority of likely voters among them wish they had other choices in the election.

Two years ago, the president flipped a number of states that had gone to Republican George W. Bush in 2004, among them Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

Just 29 percent of voters who backed Mr. Obama in those states are more enthusiastic about voting this year, while 70 percent are less enthusiastic. And just 40 percent say their congressperson deserves reelection.

Read the Full Poll
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This CBS News Poll was conducted online by Knowledge Networks among a nationwide random sample of 1077 Americans who say they voted for Barack Obama for President in 2008. Knowledge Networks, a Silicon Valley company, conducted the poll among a sample of adult members of its household panel, which is a nationally representative sample given access to the Internet. This is a scientifically representative poll of self-identified 2008 Obama voters. The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus three percentage points for the entire sample of 2008 Obama voters. Sampling error for subgroups could be higher.
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