Obama approval hits 60% as end of term approaches

Obama approval hits 60% as end of term approaches

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:47 pm



Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama will leave office on Friday with his highest approval rating since 2009 put at 60 per cent as his presidency is largely viewed as a success.

A new CNN/ORC poll finds Obama’s approval rating stands at 60 per cent, his best mark since June of his first year in office and majority said they would miss him when “he is gone’’.

Compared with other outgoing presidents, Obama lands near the top of the list, outranked only by Bill Clinton’s 66 per cent in January 2001 and Ronald Reagan’s 64 per cent in January 1989.

About two-third (65 per cent) say Obama’s presidency was a success, including about half (49 per cent) who say that was due to Obama’s personal strength rather than circumstances outside his control.

Obama took office several months after a massive stock market crash and amid a crisis in the nation’s housing market, and at a time when international impressions of the U.S. were at a low point, according to polls.

At the time of his inauguration, 72 per cent expected there to be at least some improvement in race relations following his election as the first black president.

In the new poll, Obama also scores net-positive approval ratings for his work on education, policies toward gays and lesbians, environmental policy and climate change, all areas where policies shifted sharply during his tenure.

Majorities disapprove, however, of Obama’s work on gun policy, an issue he embraced following the death of 20 children and six adults in a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and his handling of ISIS, which rose to prominence during his time in office.

The public is also mixed on his handling of two top domestic issues – illegal immigration and health care policy – and two national security concerns – terrorism and cyber security.

Obama’s time comes to an end with 50 per cent saying things in the country are generally going well and 50 per cent that they are going poorly.

That was a sharp increase compared with the start of Obama’s time in office.

In early 2009, in the midst of an economic crisis, just 21 per cent said things in the country were heading the right way, that rose to 49 per cent by the time of Obama’s second inauguration, and peaked at 54 per cent just before last year’s election.

Similarly, there has been a sharp turnaround in impressions of the economy under Obama.

Now, 57 per cent say economic conditions are good, compared with 13 per cent in January 2009.

Much of that improvement in opinions on the economy came during Obama’s second term.

In December 2012, just after his re-election that figure had risen to just 26 per cent.

Looking ahead, the public is split on whether the country will be better (47 per cent) or worse off (48 per cent) four years from now, but they are more apt to see improvement on the horizon for the economy.

As a result, 62 per cent say that will be better a year from today.

Asked about their own financial situation, 40 per cent expect it to improve in the next year, 48 per cent say it will be the same and 11 per cent say it will get worse in the first year of Trump’s presidency.

Obama’s favourability rating stands at 63 per cent, among the best for recent presidents and his highest since summer 2009.

First lady Michelle Obama scores a 69 per cent favourability rating, her highest mark since 2012, matching her favourability rating in January 2009 just ahead of Obama’s first inauguration.

The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone on Jan. 12 to Jan. 15 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults.

Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points; it is higher for subgroups. (NAN)

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