Additionally, the poll, conducted Jan. 14 – Jan. 17, shows Americans believe that the U.S. has a responsibility to help in Haiti, where up to 200,000 deaths are being predicted due to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on January 12.
Eight in 10 Americans approve of Mr. Obama's response; just 8 percent disapprove. Unlike many political issues today, there is no partisan divide on this – Republicans, Democrats and independents all give the president strong marks, with at least three in four approving.
Presidential approval ratings can – but don't always -- rise as a result of a crisis or disaster. In January 2005, 81 percent approved of how President George W. Bush was handling the U.S. response to the tsunami in South Asia, and in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks his approval rating rose to 90 percent, the highest recorded for a modern president. But President Bush's approval rating dropped in the aftermath of his administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.
Most Americans (84 percent) say the U.S. has a responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. This, too, spans the political spectrum.
This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1090 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone January 14-17, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial 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.