Obama enjoys reservoir of public goodwill – CNN poll

November 3, 2009

President Barack Obama made history as the first black man to be elected president of the United States on the first Tuesday of November 2008. CAMPAIGN

He did it with 53 percent of the vote. And today, on the first Tuesday of November 2009 as voters go to the polls for a handful of off-year elections, his approval rating is in pretty much the same spot: 54 percent, according to a CNN poll.

“In nearly every demographic category, the percent that approve of Obama today is within two to three points of the percent who voted for him in 2008,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

What does that mean? The upshot appears to be that the first-term Democrat has built up a reservoir of goodwill among Americans.

That’s a bit ironic because the poll also found that most Americans disapprove of his performance on most issues. Those would be things like the economy and healthcare and Afghanistan and Iraq and unemployment and illegal immigration and the budget deficit.

In fact, the poll found that a majority of Americans have a positive view of Obama on only three of 14 issues: the environment, the H1N1 swine flu pandemic and overall foreign policy. 

But six in 10 say Obama inspires confidence in them and describe him as a strong, honest, trustworthy leader.  Overall, he gets the thumbs up on 11 out of 12 personal characteristics. 

OBAMA/Did someone mention his predecessor, George W. Bush? Oh, yeah, fifty-seven percent see Obama as the better president while a third favor Bush. 

People prefer Joe over Dick, too. By 24 percentage points, the poll said Americans consider Joe Biden to be a better vice president than Dick Cheney. 

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 with 1,018 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The results have a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Photo Credits: Reuters/Gary Hershorn (Candidate Obama); Reuters/Larry Downing (President Obama)


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No doubt his good will reserve will continue as long as the handouts continue. Already more than half of Americans are getting some kind of government assistance, so that alone buys the voters. Who cares about the others (less than half) who are doing all the paying. How long before the well runs dry?

Posted by Libby | Report as abusive

I just hope this reservoir of good will improves Rush Limbaugh’s chances of having a coronary.

Posted by Bushwhacker | Report as abusive

Comparing Obama’s approval rating with the percentage of votes he got in the election is deceptive. When polling for approval ratings, there isn’t another choice as there is in an election. Maybe that would explain the “irony.”

Posted by Rachel | Report as abusive

Thanks for fleshing out the polling numbers. It’s always reassuring to see concrete data confirming one’s hopes and perceptions.

Posted by Smithn | Report as abusive

We are still dazzled with our Pres.Bam.
BAM IS THE WORLD.He governs with civility.
i love America more each day sinced our president name is…….BAM.

Posted by Carol Dijkhuyzen | Report as abusive


Posted by dangerdeb | Report as abusive

He has a 46 percent approval rating according the most accurate, consistent and apolitical Rasmussen poll.

CNN is not valid. So, don’t get too excited about that inaccurate poll. If you want to use TV station polls, FOX says he is under 50 percent. That is just as valid as CNN if you believe TV station polls…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

I wouldn’t call Rasmussen polls consistently accurate. They have been wrong and inconsistent about Pres. Obama numbers. If I were to say a poll was not valid it would be Rasmussen.

They are considered a right leaning poll, so I take their results with a grain of salt.

Gallup 50
Rasmussen Reports 46
CNN/Opinion Research 54
FOX News 50
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 51
USA Today/Gallup 50
ABC News/Wash Post 57

Posted by EW | Report as abusive

Interesting EW. Rasmussen was spot on with the elections held tonight.

Say what you will. For all the campaign trips Obama made, the democrats lost big tonight. I am not as concerned with a republican sweep in Virginia and NJ as much as what it says for Obama and his agenda. People don’t want anything to do with what he has to offer…

So, personally popular, but his policies stink and Americans agree with me…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

EW when Obama got elected Rasmussen were the only pollster to get it dead right,and because they predicted a larger win the democrats were only to pleased to quote them.Usual double standard!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

TC, up till now our poll master has not emerged,i wonder if he is confabulating with his acorn truth seekers?were was micky and donald tonight guys?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I find the results perfectly understandable. People like Obama. Why not, he is good looking, personable, and a good speaker. But, they hate his policies. Why not, economic history and theory teaches us that raises marginal tax rates, regulations, and increasing government entitlements are all negative for growth, prosperity, and jobs.

So, the bottomline is this, the republicans should go after his policies but not the man.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

David. True. I have always gone after his policies. Unfortunately, the left goes after people personally and tries to destroy them because their policies don’t have a rational argument to stand on.

brian lee. It doesn’t matter. They (you know who I am talking about) always scamper away when they are proven wrong. But we already know their game….

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


What about all the Reverend Wright hoopla and the “palling around with terrorists” jargin? Did that have anything to do with stances on issues?

Both Republicans and Democrats don’t want elections to be about issues, why? Cuz they have the same stance on all of them.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Michael Ham. There isn’t anything left off the table in last nights election. As you said in an earlier post, Obama is a horrible president.

I really don’t care what either party wants, what I do care about is what we want and Americans in Virginia and NJ spoke loudly and clearly last night. Obama spent a lot of time in each state and his guys lost with knockout punches. What Americans don’t want is what he is trying to force down our throats.

This is just the beginning and they got the message!

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


You said Republicans talk about the issues and Democrats bring up nonsense, which isn’t the case they both are constantly talking about nonsense which is why i brought up Wright and the terrorist lines.

This is just the beginning of what? In order to be a member of a political party you have to have a short memory, which is why i’m an independent. I still remember in 2000 when you republicans told me that we were entering into an era of conservatism because of how liberal Clinton was. Clinton was nowhere near as liberal as Bush was, not even in the same zip code and the republican congress did nothing but further push that liberal agenda.

The #1 characteristic of liberalism is the expansion of government and more government involvement in issues, which you don’t have a problem with in principle you just have problem when it’s democrats doing it.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Michael. Don’t presume to know anything about me.

I make no apology for disliking this bunch in power right now. I am not in to the democrat/republican argument, so you will have to argue with yourself on that one.

I am a conservative and am extremely happy the blue dog democrats are fighting this health care monstrosity mucking through congress.

The sooner this bunch is out of power the better off we will be.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


If you don’t like this group in power, you shouldn’t have liked the last group in power and if you didn’t like them than you should have no reason to have faith that recycling another democrat or republican will do anything to fix the problem.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Thanks for your opinion Michael. But you don’t think for me.

My sense is you are a negative person. I happen to be an optimist and I am very optimistic the agenda this bunch in power want to force down our throats will be rejected.

The American people are waking up to what is happening and that gives me hope for our future.

Sorry, but I don’t adhere to your view of the world. It’s a no win situation and I don’t buy in to it.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


I’m the most optimistic person I know, when it comes to government? Nope, I have no reason to be optimistic. We never learn from our mistakes.

I was told the American people were waking up to the Bush disaster by voting in Obama, now I’m being told the American people are waking up to the Obama disaster by voting in more Bush’s. See why I’m pessimistic about gov’t?

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Now you get it Michael. You are speaking for yourself and only yourself. I can respect that, even if I don’t adhere to your view of the world.

I don’t know about you, but I have done quite well under Bush and am doing quite well now. So it certainly is a matter of opinion on the disaster you paint.

However, since I am a forward thinker, I am very concerned about the future of our country with the current bunch in power. JMHO…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


I don’t judge how well president’s are doing based on my bank account balance. I try to look at a world view, and how they adhere to the constitution.

Most empires downfall throughout history are caused by economic failures and doing things you can’t afford. No president or Congress in my lifetime has taken the strength of the dollar or the strength of the U.S. economy seriously.

Many of us voters have to make a choice, we can either adhere to conservative principles or we can be republicans. It’s a choice we have to make.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

If you were paying attention to what I wrote, I said I am a conservative. I never said anything about being a democrat or republican. You were the one making the comparisons.

Again, thanks for your opinion. I made my point and it is inconsequential to me whether or not you agree with me.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


I guess I just found it odd that you bash democrats on every blog you post, and it takes a real arm-twisting for you to even question republicans.

Just an observation is all.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Michael, I am a conservative and I have defended conservative democrats when they act like conservatives.

Again, I don’t adhere to your view of the world. I defend what I think is right (correct) and I am critical of what I believe is wrong.

If you don’t like what I have to say, it doesn’t really matter to me. Discuss an issue or something, you aren’t going to change my mind on what I just stated.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive


I guess me viewing the Republican party as liberal doesn’t really seem like an opinion to me, every budget and every stance they’re taken on an issue when in power proves my “opinion” it looks more and more like fact.

I like that you have a different opinion and view of the world than i do, i’m not asking you to change yours. I’m not sure where you get that idea from.

I’m just doing the same thing you are, expressing opinion.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive