January 13, 2011 - Obama's Approval Bounces Back, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Health Care Is Best And Worst Thing He's Done

Word format

Halfway through his first term, President Barack Obama has a 48 - 44 percent approval rating, rebounding almost to the magic 50 percent threshold for the first time since October of 2009. American voters split 47 - 45 percent on whether his presidency is a success or a failure, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 26 percent of American voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh pe-ack) University survey that health care is the best thing President Obama has done. In a separate open-ended question, 27 percent of voters list health care as the worst thing he has done.

"The president's job approval has improved, whether in reaction to GOP success in November's elections, the deals he was able to negotiate with congressional Republicans during the lame duck session or some other reasons," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Whether this is the beginning of a change in public opinion about the president or just a blip we'll see as events unfold in the coming year."

Although the president's overall rating has improved, there is little change in the pattern of his support:
  • Women approve 52 - 40 percent;
  • Men disapprove 48 - 45 percent;
  • Blacks approve 89 - 6 percent;
  • Hispanics approve 64 - 19 percent;
  • Whites disapprove 53 - 39 percent;
  • Democrats approve 85 - 10;
  • Republicans disapprove 84 - 12 percent;
  • Independent voters disapprove 46 - 41 percent.
"President Barack Obama's improvement in the polls - he had a 49 - 44 percent disapproval overall from the country when Quinnipiac University polled on November 17, just after the election and before the lame duck congressional session - comes from the groups one would expect first to come back his way," said Brown.

President Obama also scores better when asked about comparisons to former President George W. Bush and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain than he had in past polls.

American voters say 46 - 30 percent that Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, a larger margin than in November when they said so 43 - 37 percent. Voters also say 41 - 32 percent that the country would be worse off if McCain had won the 2008 election.

"On balance, the American people are giving him thumbs up halfway through his presidency," said Brown. "Given the pasting his party took at the polls in November, the president and his supporters can take some heart that things aren't all that bad politically for Obama's re-election."

But voters oppose by a narrow 45 - 42 percent margin the idea being pushed by Obama's Democratic allies in the U.S. Senate to require 51 votes to break a filibuster and pass legislation rather than the current requirement of 60 votes to break a filibuster.

"There is no groundswell of support for changing the filibuster rule," said Brown.

Voters approve 47 - 38 percent Obama's handling of foreign policy, but they disapprove 55 - 30 percent of his handling of illegal immigration.

Obama is honest and trustworthy, voters say 63 - 31 percent; he has strong leadership qualities, voters say 64 - 33 percent, and generally shares their views on issues they care about, voters say 49 - 46 percent.

Given four choices, 44 percent say they like Obama and his policies, while 2 percent don't like him but like his policies. Another 29 percent like him personally but not his policies and 19 percent dislike both him and his policies.

From January 4 - 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,647 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              48     12     85     41     45     52     39     89     64
Disapprove           44     84     10     46     48     40     53      6     19
DK/NA                 8      4      5     12      7      9      7      5     17
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              56     45     47     51     48     45     81     53     23
Disapprove           34     49     45     42     43     46     11     37     72
DK/NA                10      6      8      7      8      9      8      9      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Approve              46     53     26     32     38
Disapprove           45     41     69     62     51
DK/NA                 9      6      4      6     11
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President? (*High also 59% Mar 2009 **Low also 44% Jul 2010, Apr 2010, Sep 2010)
                                                     PstHlth APPROVE.......
                                                     VtPoll  High    Low
                     Jan 13  Nov 17  Sep 09  Jul 21  Mar 25  Jun 04  Nov 17
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    2009*   2010**
 
Approve              48      44      44      44      45      59      44
Disapprove           44      49      47      48      46      31      49
DK/NA                 8       6       9       8       9      10       6
 
 
5. Which one of the following statements comes closest to the way you feel about Barack Obama - A) I like Barack Obama as a person and I also like most of his policies B) I like Barack Obama as a person but I don't like most of his policies C) I don't like Barack Obama as a person but I do like most of his policies D) I don't like Barack Obama as a person and I also don't like most of his policies?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Person/Policies      44      8     81     35     40     47     35     83     60
Person/Not policies  29     42     10     39     31     28     32     13     27
Policies/Not person   2      3      1      -      2      1      2      -      0
Not Pol/Not person   19     38      3     19     20     17     23      1      7
DK/NA                 7      9      5      6      7      7      7      3      5
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Person/Policies      50     43     40     45     45     42     75     47     21
Person/Not policies  24     30     32     30     28     31     15     32     33
Policies/Not person   3      1      1      2      1      1      1      3      1
Not Pol/Not person   14     21     19     16     21     20      3     11     38
DK/NA                 8      5      6      7      5      6      6      6      7
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Person/Policies      42     47     22     27     33
Person/Not policies  29     31     29     33     38
Policies/Not person   2      1      4      2      2
Not Pol/Not person   20     16     33     30     21
DK/NA                 8      4     12      8      6
 
TREND: Which one of the following statements comes closest to the way you feel about Barack Obama - A) I like Barack Obama as a person and I also like most of his policies B) I like Barack Obama as a person but I don't like most of his policies C) I don't like Barack Obama as a person but I do like most of his policies D) I don't like Barack Obama as a person and I also don't like most of his policies?
                     Jan 13  Nov 19
                     2011    2009
 
Person/Policies      44      46
Person/Not policies  29      28
Policies/Not person   2       1
Not pol/Not person   19      20
DK/NA                 7       5
 
 
6. Regardless of your overall opinion of Barack Obama, what do you think is the best thing he has done as President?
                             Tot
 
 
Economy and Jobs - General    2
Extended unemployment
 benefits                     1
 
Stimulus plan - General       1
 
Budget - General              1
 
Taxes - General               1
Tax Deal - Extended Bush
 tax cuts                     3
 
Health care - General        25
Health care - Increased
 coverage                     1
 
War - Afghanistan - General   1
War - Afghanistan/Set
 deadline for  withdrawal     1
War - Iraq - General          1
 
DADT - Don't Ask, Don't 
 Tell Repeal                  3
 
GITMO - Hasn't closed
 Guantanamo                   1
 
International Policies/
 Actions - General            1
 
National - Set a new tone 
 and direction for country    1
National - Brings the
 country together             1
 
Partisanship/Bipartisan/ 
 Works well with Reps         2
 
Education                     1
 
First black President         1
 
He hasn't done anything good 16
 
Everything is good            1
 
Other                        12
DK/NA                        18
 
 
7. Regardless of your overall opinion of Barack Obama, what do you think is the worst thing he has done as President?
                             Tot
 
 
Economy and Jobs - General    3
Economy and Jobs - Hasn't 
 helped enough/Recovery
 is too slow                  1
 
Stimulus plan - General       1
Bailouts - Wall Street/
 Banks/TARP                   1
Bailouts - General            1
 
Budget Deficit - Increased 
 debt/Increased gov
 spending                     3
 
Tax Deal - Extended Bush
 tax cuts - General           1
Tax Deal - Extended Bush
 tax cuts for wealthy         2
 
Health care - General        26
Health care - Failed/Gave in 
 on important prts of plan    1
 
War - Afghanistan - General   5
War - Iraq - General          1
 
DADT - Don't Ask, Don't 
 Tell Repeal                  2
 
Gitmo - Hasn't closed
 Guantanamo Bay               1
 
International Policies/
 Actions - General            1
 
Environment - Gulf oil spill  1
 
Doesn't stand up to 
 Republicans/Compromises 
 too much with Reps           4
 
Immigration                   2
 
Staff - Appointed/Hired
 worst people                 1
 
Everything is bad             1
 
He hasn't done anything bad   7
 
Other                        15
DK/NA                        16
 
 
9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - foreign policy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              47     17     72     45     46     49     41     71     61
Disapprove           38     68     15     39     43     34     43     15     26
DK/NA                15     15     12     16     12     17     15     14     13
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              51     46     46     47     48     51     72     54     25
Disapprove           37     40     38     37     40     37     18     33     58
DK/NA                13     14     17     17     12     13     10     14     17
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Approve              43     56     26     32     48
Disapprove           39     36     54     50     37
DK/NA                18      8     20     18     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling foreign policy?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 13  Nov 18  Sep 09  Jul 21  Apr 22  Apr 29  Jul 21
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2010
 
Approve              47      46      45      43      48      57      43
Disapprove           38      44      44      46      42      32      46
DK/NA                15      10      11      12      10      11      12
 
 
16. Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling - illegal immigration?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              30     11     52     26     26     35     24     60     40
Disapprove           55     75     30     62     61     48     61     26     41
DK/NA                15     14     18     13     13     17     15     14     19
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              41     29     24     33     29     33     47     35     16
Disapprove           47     56     59     52     58     51     34     50     73
DK/NA                12     16     17     15     13     16     19     15     11
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Approve              30     30     18     21     25
Disapprove           55     53     67     65     63
DK/NA                14     17     15     14     12
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling illegal immigration?
                     Jan 13  Sep 13  Jul 21
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Approve              30      28      30
Disapprove           55      60      58
DK/NA                15      12      12
 
 
17. Do you think Barack Obama's two years as President have been mainly a success or mainly a failure?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Success              47     13     82     39     42     52     39     83     65
Failure              45     82     11     50     50     40     54      7     25
DK/NA                 8      5      7     11      8      7      7     10     11
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Success              53     46     44     49     49     44     81     51     23
Failure              40     48     46     43     44     51     14     40     72
DK/NA                 8      6      9      9      6      5      6      9      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Success              45     53     25     30     37
Failure              47     40     69     63     55
DK/NA                 8      7      6      7      8
 
 
18. Do you think Barack Obama has been a better President than George W. Bush, worse, or about the same as President Bush?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Better               46      6     84     40     42     50     38     81     61
Worse                30     69      2     30     30     29     36      4     19
About the same       22     22     13     27     25     19     24     13     12
DK/NA                 3      3      2      3      2      3      2      2      8
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Better               50     45     45     47     47     45     84     52     18
Worse                22     32     32     26     30     36      3     23     55
About the same       22     21     22     24     20     16     12     23     24
DK/NA                 6      2      1      2      3      2      1      3      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Better               44     52     24     30     35
Worse                31     27     51     46     28
About the same       23     18     24     20     35
DK/NA                 2      3      1      4      2
 
TREND: Do you think Barack Obama has been a better President than George W. Bush, worse, or about the same as President Bush?
                     Jan 13  Nov 17  Jul 21  Jan 13
                     2011    2010    2010    2010
 
Better               46      43      42      43
Worse                30      37      32      30
About the same       22      19      23      23
DK/NA                 3       2       3       4
 
 
19. In the Presidential election of 2008, if John McCain had become President instead of Barack Obama, do you think that, in general, the nation would be better off than it is today or worse off than it is today?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Better off           32     72      5     30     34     30     38      7     13
Worse off            41      8     75     35     38     44     35     65     59
SAME (VOL)           14      8     10     20     15     13     14     12     17
DK/NA                13     12     10     15     12     14     13     15     11
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Better off           25     35     34     29     33     37      7     29     53
Worse off            41     41     42     42     43     39     74     43     19
SAME (VOL)           19     13     12     15     14     15     13     15     13
DK/NA                16     12     12     14     10     10      7     13     14
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Better off           33     29     51     45     36
Worse off            38     48     23     25     34
SAME (VOL)           14     14     13     15     17
DK/NA                14     10     13     15     13
 
TREND: In the Presidential election of 2008, if John McCain had become President instead of Barack Obama, do you think that, in general, the nation would be better off than it is today or worse off than it is today?
                     Jan 13  Jul 21  Jan 13
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Better off           32      37      35
Worse off            41      35      37
SAME(VOL)            14      15      17
DK/NA                13      13      11
 
 
20. How would you describe your feelings toward President Obama: admire, satisfied, dissatisfied, or angry?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Admire               21      5     42     14     14     27     17     44     22
Satisfied            34     13     47     35     35     33     28     51     56
Dissatisfied         35     65      8     40     38     32     42      5     16
Angry                 9     16      2      9     11      7     11      -      6
DK/NA                 2      1      1      2      2      2      2      1      -
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Admire               22     22     20     22     22     18     43     20      9
Satisfied            40     29     34     35     34     34     42     40     20
Dissatisfied         28     38     36     32     36     37     12     32     52
Angry                 8     10      8      9      8      9      1      5     18
DK/NA                 1      1      3      2      -      2      1      2      1
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Admire               21     22      8     14     13
Satisfied            32     36     21     20     35
Dissatisfied         36     32     51     50     40
Angry                 9      9     17     14      9
DK/NA                 2      1      3      2      3
 
TREND: How would you describe your feelings toward President Obama: admire, satisfied, dissatisfied, or angry?
                     Jan 13  Jul 21  Jan 13
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Admire               21      17      19
Satisfied            34      33      34
Dissatisfied         35      33      30
Angry                 9      15      15
DK/NA                 2       2       2
 
 
21. Would you say that Barack Obama - is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  63     36     91     59     60     66     57     89     80
No                   31     56      5     36     34     29     37      6     15
DK/NA                 6      8      4      5      6      5      6      5      6
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  69     60     63     65     64     62     88     68     42
No                   27     36     29     29     32     34      8     26     53
DK/NA                 4      5      8      6      4      4      4      6      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes                  62     67     42     47     64
No                   32     29     50     46     31
DK/NA                 7      4      8      7      5
 
TREND: Would you say that Barack Obama is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Jan 13  Sep 09  Jan 13
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Yes                  63      55      56
No                   31      38      37
DK/NA                 6       6       7
 
 
22. Would you say that Barack Obama - has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  64     40     87     59     60     68     58     91     71
No                   33     58      9     37     37     29     39      7     22
DK/NA                 3      2      3      4      3      3      3      2      7
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  73     64     58     66     65     61     87     69     43
No                   24     34     38     31     34     34     11     28     54
DK/NA                 3      2      4      3      2      5      3      3      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes                  63     67     48     52     55
No                   34     29     49     45     42
DK/NA                 3      4      3      3      3
 
TREND: Would you say that Barack Obama has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     Jan 13  Sep 09  Jan 13
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Yes                  64      59      66
No                   33      38      32
DK/NA                 3       3       2
 
 
23. Would you say that Barack Obama - shares your views on issues that you care about or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  49     12     83     44     43     55     41     83     74
No                   46     85     12     52     52     41     55     14     18
DK/NA                 5      3      4      5      5      4      4      3      9
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  56     47     47     52     49     48     81     55     23
No                   40     49     48     44     48     46     15     40     74
DK/NA                 3      4      5      5      2      6      4      5      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes                  47     54     28     32     44
No                   48     41     67     63     52
DK/NA                 5      5      5      5      4
 
TREND: Would you say that Barack Obama - shares your views on issues that you care about or not?
                     Jan 13  Jan 13
                     2011    2010
 
Yes                  49      46
No                   46      50
DK/NA                 5       4
 
 
24. Would you say that in general the Obama administration has been competent in running the government, or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes, competent       52     18     86     44     48     55     45     85     67
No, not competent    45     80     11     51     50     40     53     11     23
DK/NA                 4      2      3      4      2      5      3      4     11
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes, competent       58     50     49     54     55     49     82     55     29
No, not competent    39     47     46     42     42     50     14     42     69
DK/NA                 2      3      5      4      2      1      4      3      2
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes, competent       49     58     31     36     45
No, not competent    47     39     66     61     53
DK/NA                 4      3      3      3      3
 
 
41. Some people have suggested eliminating the filibuster procedure in the U.S. Senate so that all that would be needed to pass legislation would be a simple majority of votes, 51 out of 100. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Good idea            42     34     50     41     40     43     41     46     42
Bad idea             45     53     35     48     50     40     47     34     43
DK/NA                13     13     15     11     10     17     11     20     15
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Good idea            41     41     44     43     40     45     50     44     34
Bad idea             43     49     41     40     50     48     35     42     55
DK/NA                16     10     14     17     10      8     15     14     11
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Good idea            42     42     37     37     47
Bad idea             43     49     50     50     41
DK/NA                15      9     13     13     12
 
TREND: Some people have suggested eliminating the filibuster procedure in the U.S. Senate so that all that would be needed to pass legislation would be a simple majority of votes, 51 out of 100. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Jan 13  Mar 25
                     2011    2010
 
Good idea            42      39
Bad idea             45      51
DK/NA                13      10